It’s a new year, it’s a new day for Cane Bay Cares. The island of St. Croix is about 95% energized and the need for immediate supplies has waned. But the needs on island are still great. About 50% of the public schools on St. Croix were condemned and are no longer in use – that means the students are cramped into the schools still standing. The educational experience on St. Croix has been severely impacted. To accommodate the space shortage, the public school students are only going to school for half days – that means those students get half the educational experience, if that. Many lost their equipment, supplies, desks, all the things that go into a quality education. The students of the Virgin Islands never even got to start the school year on the right foot. They had about 4 days of school when Hurricane Irma hit and most of the schools were out of power and flooded. Then, about a week later, the outer bands of Hurricane Jose brought flash flooding that further impacted the schools. What those storms didn’t touch, Hurricane Maria would impact mid-September. Students were able to start half sessions about two months into the semester. The teachers are doing the best they can with what they have, parents are trying to make due and students are trying to get the most out of it – but this less than ideal situation can have a lasting impact on the quality of their education.

When we were brainstorming how best to help the rebuild effort long-term, we all came back to education. There are many challenges for a small island community after major storms, but for us, education was an easy choice because it is one of the most visibly impacted areas, not just physically but socially as well – as the impact trickles across generations. We also believe that a quality education can have the benefit of assisting in other areas as well – as in the long-term it can lead to higher economic opportunities for young people and lower crime rates as a result of that. It’s a win all around.

We haven’t determined the exact parameters of our program, but we are in the beginning stages of laying the groundwork for an afterschool program that will help get students caught up in core subjects, as well as provide workshops for students who need to be challenged in advanced subjects. We hope to be able to help supplement the educational opportunities for young people on the island, to provide teachers with an extra source of income and to provide parents with a wholesome activity for students while they work.

We will announce details as soon as we finalize them. In the meantime, feel free to send us your feedback or suggestions related to this idea to