In June, University of Mississippi students and siblings Nick and Tate Brons took a family vacation to the islands of Turks and Caicos, where they did more than just relax out in the sun. The Brons family was able to give back to local children by entertaining and reading to some of the primary and secondary schools of the area through a program called Reading Road Trip.
Reading Road Trip is a program that was launched by The Sandals Foundation, which seeks to help Caribbean communities through education and environment. This program allows visitors of Sandals and Beaches Resorts to be engaged in a volunteer travel experience, in which they are encouraged to spend time with the resident children of an area.
“My mom told me about the opportunity to volunteer at the school while we were on the plane,” said Tate, an incoming freshman at Ole Miss. “I immediately said yes. I’ve always wanted to have the chance to do something like this while in another country so I was thrilled to take a day away from our vacation to spend with the kids.”
“The best part was seeing how excited they were to pull us in,” said Nick, a sophomore. “We were in a kindergarten class so it took a while for them to settle down. I remember how the teacher had them sing songs to us and after that they sat quietly and listened to my mom read to them.”
The family enjoyed reading, playing and even answering some of the amusing questions the children had. They even had time for some selfies with the kids. Though they spent hours hanging out with the children, it just wasn’t enough, Tate said. “In the future I would love to spend more than a day at school, and not just a half-day,” she said. “Seeing the smiles on their faces was amazing!”
Although the program is meant to benefit and entertain the children of the area, the Brons family immensely enjoyed its day volunteering. Family members say it was truly the best experience and they encourage anyone to do it when given a chance.
“I really like helping the younger kids,” Nick said. “They seem to really look up to the older kids. I would most definitely do this sort of thing again.”
Courtesy of Claire Smith