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Sand Castle Library & Bookmobiles

partnering with our community to improve education in the Bay Islands

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MESSAGE FROM OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Many of us have dreams – some simple and easily managed; others beyond our comprehension.  Many of us have someone who had a major positive impact on our lives.  I am one of the lucky ones, motivated by teachers who gave me the self-confidence to have dreams and offered education as a doorway to achieving these dreams.  I am grateful to my third grade teacher who introduced me to creative writing; my 7th grade teacher who read Johnny Tremane to us every Friday bringing history alive; my ninth grade teacher who honed our writing skills with his weekly “Write Something from the Topic Box”; my twelfth grade teacher who brought literature and drama alive and led me through my first painful research thesis.

Equally as powerful was the message they delivered, that education was not just about grades, but really about developing skills to communicate and make a difference in the world.  Partners in Education Roatan is their heritage and at the core of my desire to pass on their message that education can bring dreams alive.

The tiny island of Roatan has approximately 35,000 school-aged children; 14,000 enrolled in school in 2013; and classroom space for 13,000.  Honduras has established reading and math standards and developed workbooks and teacher guides.  Roatan received her first set of books in 2008; and her second set halfway through the 2013 school year.  Chances of books in 2014 are slim.  Social studies and science teachers have to find their own textbooks.  Most schools do not have libraries, copy machines, or basic instructional materials. 

PIER’s mission is to foster quality education and literacy on the island.  Since 2006 we have offered classes and tutoring to students through our e-learning center, Sand Castle Library & Education Center, and our English teacher training.  Last year with the encouragement of our donors we made a philosophical shift from direct services to a limited number of children, to taking books and training directly to teachers and students in the schools.  Thanks to the Markawasi Foundation, Nobelity Project, and Roatan Children’s Fund we initiated a bookmobile that allowed us to loan out almost 6,000 books to students on only 3 months.  One teacher said it best:  “The Bookmobile is the single best thing that has happened to education in Roatan – because it gets books into the hands of teachers and students.

Since January staff has been creating materials to take into classrooms; the bookmobile begins service to 14 schools in March.  When we lost funding for our librarian, we considered dropping that service. However, since school opened this month we have between 10 and 40 children every afternoon coming for help with their homework and Brain Spaces program.  I am serving as librarian and beginning to build a volunteer team to help.  To allow me to supervise both programs and to save electricity costs, and using leftover lumber from the resort, we are remodeling the old dive shop into the Treasure Island-style multi-usage space.

 We are grateful to all of you who are helping us to bring dreams to children and teachers of Roatan.

 

Cam O’Brien

Exective Director, Partners In Education - Roatan

Support the Sandcastle Library

Support PIER & the Sandcastle Library with a  directed donation to PIER projects through Brain Spaces, a US 501c3 nonprofit.  Brain Spaces partners with PIER to bring community learning opportunities to the Bay Islands.