Sandy Bay Primary School

August: Putting plans into action

An international outreach. As a Christian community, St. John’s has been involved with outreach projects both at home in the city and further afield – projects that are designed to make positive, meaningful differences in people’s lives. Jesus calls us to reach out to the children, and this spring, spurred by the enthusiasm of Michele McDonald and Damien Benedict, St. John’s has chosen to engage with a project with an international scope – to help rehabilitate Sandy Bay Primary School.

Sandy Bay is a small town on the northwest coast of Jamaica. The primary school serves six hundred children, and although the teachers and staff do a good job with what they have, there are major deficiencies. The school building is in desperate need of general repair, especially the washrooms and the roof. The classrooms lack books and supplies, and the teachers would appreciate access to professional development, literacy assistance and role modelling.

Sink at Sandy Bay Primary School.

A sink in one of the children's washrooms.

Most acutely felt is their need for adequate bathroom facilities to accommodate the six hundred children who attend the school. At the moment they have eight bathroom stalls of which only half are serviceable. In order to rebuild a proper school lavatory we are hoping to raise $12,000 by August 1, so the bathrooms can be properly installed before the school year starts in September. At this point we have two handy volunteers from the parish who are ready to travel to Jamaica to help the community with the construction work. There is still room for one more.

Fundraising is under way. A huge thank you for all those who brought their cars on June 21 to be washed and those who have already made donations. We’re continuing with a good old fashioned BBQ after church services on July 26th. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages will be available for purchase. To enhance the experience, we are asking parishioners to bring along their favourite side dish to share potluck style.

A classroom in Sandy Bay primary school

A classroom. The desks are of a very old style that seat two children at each.

If the spirit moves you to donate to this project please give a cheque or cash marked “Jamaica Project” to the church office or in the collection plate, or go online to contribute at We are also accepting donated air miles/Aeroplan points to assist with our handy volunteers’s travel expenses.

For more information or answers to any of your questions regarding this project and how you can get involved, please speak to Michele McDonald, or Damien and Janet Benedict.


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