There was no Santa Claus nor reindeer in sight, but Christmas still came early for the younger students at the Deacons Primary School as the Blacks in Government organisation came bearing gifts in the form of books and other school supplies last week.
Dr. Cita Maloon-Gibson, coordinator of the trip and member of BIG, confirmed that this visit formed a part of a broader mission to help and endow youth across the nation with the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed.
“What we do right now is empower people and help disenfranchised youth. Whenever the group travels, we try to do a mission trip, and we give back to the communities. So far, we’ve been to Aruba, Costa Rica, St. Thomas and Hawaii. When I knew we would be coming here, I said this would be a perfect opportunity to find a school. So, I want to thank the BTA and the Ministry of Education for accommodating us.
“Sometimes out of trips like this, some members in the group, including myself, would go back to their respective states and approach an organisation that they are affiliated with, and show them the pictures and say: ‘This is what we did, how about making a monetary donation instead of sending supplies.’ Last year we gave the Aruba elementary school $1,000 to go towards their supplies.”
In 2005, then chairman of the BIG, Farrell J. Chiles, who also made the trip, initiated the Chairman’s BIG Leadership Excursion. Now, in its eighth year, members serve as ambassadors by travelling to the Caribbean and other countries†to get to know more about the various islands, to promote BIG, and to make donations to the benefit of families and youth facing difficulties.
When asked if this was the group’s first visit to the island, Gibson confirmed that it was, but she was always encouraged to make the trip to the island by someone near and dear to her heart, explaining: “My mother had been to Barbados, and before she passed away a couple years ago, she always told me to come here and check it out. She was actually from the British Virgin Islands.” Gibson also confirmed that although the group had only been on island for one day up to that point, everyone was enjoying themselves thoroughly.
Blacks In Government, established in 1975, has over 200 chapters.†It is a non-profit organisation, headquartered in Washington, DC and advocates on behalf of the 2.2 million African American public servants at the city, county, state, and federal levels of government.†
The goals and objectives of BIG include being an advocate of equal opportunity for blacks in government, promoting professionalism among Blacks and providing a non-partisan platform on major issues of local, regional, and national significance that affect Blacks in government. BIG is also a community organisation that assists and uplifts youth and others through mentoring and educational programmes.
Visit the BIG national website at www.bignet.org.