SHTA gives foundation $10,000 in program funding

POSTED: 08/19/11 12:15 PM

St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) and the Victorious Living Foundation (VLF) signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday that will lead to the release of $10, 000 in funding over a one year period. The money will be channeled into projects geared primarily towards rebuilding the community and redirecting misguided youth and will be released after the foundation submits program/ project proposals.
The basis of the agreement is that both parties have expressed similar interests in employee education & training, increasing of the standard of living on the island of St. Maarten and poverty alleviation, creating stronger family units and empowerment of the youth and redirection of misguided youth.

Aside from the annual financial contribution, the SHTA has agreed to endorse and promote the trainings offered by the foundation to its members, assist with hotel accommodations of program facilitators when necessary and assist with printing of materials for trainings or programs.
“One of my duties as director is to outline a Vision for the SHTA. As part of that vision, I emphasized the need to reconnect with the community. Rather than granting ad hoc sponsorship requests, I felt it was more important and impactful to partner with an organization whose programs are in line with our Vision for St. Maarten,” the SHTA’s Executive Director Valya Pantophlet stated in a release.
“VLF Director and Visionary Erna Mae Francis is a tremendous role model in this community and unfortunately her work with the youth is not recognized nearly as much as it should be. I believe that rather than complaining about crime, the direction of our youth and other social ills, we – the business community – should be more proactive and support organizations that are trying to make a difference. VLF offers training programs for personal and professional development, mentorship & counseling, after school activities and a youth entrepreneurship course amongst other things. Just last year, VLF organized a Wealth creation series, in which it brought down self made millionaires to the island to lecture and inspire the youth. I expect much more from this organization in the years to come and am therefore ecstatic about this partnership. I also encourage the rest of the business community to follow suit and support these invaluable organizations within our community,” Pantophlet added.

The funding that will be provided comes from the SHTA’s Dollar-A-Day fund, which was established in 2005 and has funded, among others: clean-up campaigns, the Caribcert programs, Dollar-A-Day scholarships, Guest Excellence Training program for employees in the Hospitality sector and donations to various youth organizations on the island.
“SHTA is grateful to its hotel members who have continuously supported and contributed to the program over the years.”
Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, La Vista Resort, Turquoise Shell Inn, L’Esperance Hotel, Royal Islander Club and Princess Heights are among the hotels that contribute to the fund.
Francis expressed her gratitude to Pantophlet, SHTA, and Pantophlet’s predecessor Robert Dubourcq who has supported the organization in the past. She’s also announced that foundation will have a mentorship symposium at Sonesta Great Bay Hotel on August 25 and August 26 and at the Melford Hazel Sports Auditorium on August 27.
“This is an essential step for every sector of our community to be mobilized to reduce the wave of violent crimes and juvenile delinquency among our youth. I believe that together we all can make a difference and transform our challenged community,” Francis said.
People can get more information on the symposium at the SHTA’s office, the Department of Youth Affairs, or by contacting the Victorious Living Foundation at 158 B. Back Street, Philipsburg.

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