Community groups raise funds for Ace School

POSTED: 01/16/13 1:06 PM

St. Maarten – All Children’s Education Foundation (Ace) elementary school recently received a generous donation from the Tzu Chi Foundation thanks to a combined fundraising effort from Tzu Chi and several community groups.

Together the groups held a fundraising food sale on ‘International Meatless Day’ in November of last year and raised $8,687.25 for the school. The last part of the donation was made last week. “It will be used to help keep the doors of the elementary school open to continue to educate its children, Director Claire Elshot said.

The fundraiser was coordinated by the Tzu Chi Foundation in collaboration with the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization; Filipino Community Foundation; Chinese Community Foundation; Haitian Community, Pathways to Health and Happiness Foundation and Ace.

The Ace School had asked Tzu Chi’s assistance to help the institution raise funds to help settle a huge backlog in rent for its current location due largely in part to consistent unpaid school fees. This, coupled with other issues, put the institution in dire financial straits and at risk of having to relocate if some of the backlog was not settled soon.

Tzu Chi immediately decided to help to ensure that the school and the education of its pupils were not jeopardized. The Foundation met with its volunteers and it was decided that a fundraiser would be held.

“In our discussions it was clear early on that it would take a collective cooperation of goodwill on short notice,” Tzu Chi St. Maarten Commissioner Sandra Cheung said. “And with these difficult economic times, our strength would be our teamwork.”

Representatives of the various community groups were happy to be part of the fundraiser, which was held on International Meatless Day to help spread awareness about healthy eating.

During the event Sabine Flanders shared information on healthy foods and how they can be prepared. Tzu Chi volunteer Frances Rovelet kept the younger patrons busy with games and raffles, while other volunteers assisted in other areas.

“Our community’s greatest strength has always been its ethnic diversity. We are grateful for our united actions,” said Cheung. “The event succeeded in helping the students and keeping the school open for the time being. All children deserve the right to an education. May all those that help be blessed.”

Tzu Chi thanked all those who helped make the event a success including the Helping Hands Foundation, which donated tables; the business community, which donated items for raffles such as jewelry, perfumes, audio equipment, embroidered tablecloths, free haircuts and a camera; the Indian Community for providing food and entertainment; the Chinese and Filipino communities for the desserts and the local St. Maarten community for preparing Caribbean food.

“Every grain of rice, and every vegetable leaf, come by difficulty and hard work, eat gently, and taste mindfully, and be grateful to the blessings of all beings” ~ Tzu Chi Prayer – the organization stated at the end of its press release.

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