Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa Celebrates 19th Anniversary with Adoption of ABC Funhouse

VIEUX FORT, SAINT LUCIA – At a celebration held on Friday, March 15, 2024, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa marked a significant milestone commemorating its 19th anniversary and dedication to responsible corporate citizenship with its ongoing efforts to serve its exceptional staff, neighboring community, and valued guests.

Gemma Edwin, representing Coconut Bay’s CocoLand Cares Committee, emphasized the transformative impact of early childhood education on cognitive and character development, drawing upon the guiding principles established by Nobel Memorial Laureate James Heckman.

She announced the formal adoption of ABC Fun House Early Learning Centre, to foster optimal learning experiences for young minds. Commencing with the upcoming school year this adoption unfolds over a four-year period, starting with a comprehensive remodeling of the learning environment for 2-year-old students entering in September 2024.

Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa Adoption of ABC Funhouse
CocoLand Cares Team Members with ABC Fun House Director (L to R) – Gemma Edwin, Natalia Greene, Gary “Butch” Hendrickson, Else Joyeux, Mia Chin, and Leona Constable Chin

Beginning with curriculum assistance and the provision of instructional tools, the remodeling project also includes classroom refurbishments, upgraded student bathrooms, and a facelift of the school’s exterior. A new playground will also be installed with the goal of productive play leading to productive learning for these young students.

 Else Joyeux and Chairman Gary “Butch” Hendrickson
Holding the signed MOU by Else Joyeux and Chairman Gary “Butch” Hendrickson

“Education needs to begin in infancy, you have to start them right and they’ll be bright! You can’t expect to make changes unless you start and commit, it doesn’t happen overnight.” Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa Chairman Gary “Butch” Hendrickson continued, “when I came here over 20 years ago before we even opened the hotel, I committed myself and the team to fostering education.”

Also in attendance was Cyrus Cepal, Deputy Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, who congratulated the resort and invited other corporate citizens to follow their lead and join the MOE in the restructuring of the education system and schools.

Coconut Bay’s investment in early childhood education extends beyond ABC Fun House Early Learning Centre. Since 2014, the resort has donated educational supplies and learning tools to over 100 preschools across Saint Lucia. Despite interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these efforts have resumed, with the next distribution set to benefit 25 preschools in the island’s south.

“Today is a great day for ABC Fun House; we thank Mr. Hendrickson and your dream team, for the provisions of required materials and the renovations to the school and playground.  Thank you all and we at the school promise to pledge to raise the bar in education,” said Else Joyeux, director of ABC Fun House Early Learning Centre.

Mia Chin, a proud member of the CocoLand Cares Committee and manager of the resort’s CocoLand Kidz Klub, shared her personal connection to the cause as a parent and a member of the Coconut Bay family. She emphasized the organization’s commitment to supporting not only early childhood education but also healthcare initiatives, such as the ongoing partnership with the pediatric ward of St. Jude Hospital. Looking ahead, the CocoLand Cares Committee is gearing up to refresh and improve the emergency room facilities at St. Jude Hospital, underscoring the organization’s dedication to supporting critical healthcare infrastructure in the south of Saint Lucia.