Graduation is bittersweet.

It is that time of the year! 

As some of you may have seen on our social media, the children of our 3rd program graduated on 23 June. Graduation is bittersweet and happy all in one. Once the day has arrived, you realize how time flies by in the blink of an eye. We also mentioned it in our recent newsletter; sign up here to subscribe.

I love graduation preparation.

It was early March when we started at Roseau Primary School, and here we are all these weeks later. It has been so much fun and challenging as well because of the limited amount of time available. This time the school specifically requested to incorporate reading and writing into the program. We were known as ‘the Breadfruit readers”, and I have to admit that sounds special.

To make reading and writing fun, we included poems about different subjects and read them aloud together. And added in some story writing and encouraged the children to write something in almost every session. I enjoyed we sang the first verse of the national anthem together in the session about ‘what I love about Dominica.’ 

Acknowledgment for our program. 

Even though we know our program works, read my Blog about it here; that does not mean others automatically know that too. We are making progress, but it takes time and effort for the program to become known and to one day be an integral part next to the curriculum at primary schools. Never stop dreaming big. 

Proudly receiving my pin.

We are, therefore, proud that this year the Foundation did get the recognition and acknowledgment the program deserves. It reflects that we are moving forward and making progress.

Our 3rd program received a grant from the Rotary Club of Portsmouth, Dominica. That in itself was already marvelous, for which we are grateful. That is not all; during their recent investiture dinner, I was pinned and complimented for the work that I do with the children. Trust me if I say that I am wearing my ‘above and beyond’ pin with great pride. Learn more about the Rotary Club of Portsmouth here.


Then there was the invitation to attend the leaving school ceremony at Goodwill Primary School. The school that hosted us twice so far. During the ceremony, I received a beautiful bouquet to again recognize my work with the children in our program. 

We are moving forward. 

We have come a long way from an idea in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to where we are now. What initially started as a way to help has become a fully registered and functioning non-profit with a mission and a vision. As foundation, we are proud to say that we have so far completed three programs and, with your help and support, will continue to do many more.  

Schools are closed for the summer, and together with the board, I have started to write a 5-year strategic plan; just like we teach the children, it is good to dream big and make plans. Even though some things still need to be worked out, our dream and vision are crystal clear.  

There is a great need for the program, and we are aiming to reach as many children as possible within the means we have available. We are moving forward, step by step and growing, developing, and always inspiring children to become empowered adults. Feel free to see how you can help by clicking here. 

The 5-year strategic plan will help raise funds from, for example, equity funds. It also turns out to be a great way to look at costs, especially once we have our building. To expand, we also need to start writing things down in a curriculum or handbook, if you will. Our vision and the way we work, and all the sessions and resources we have available. 

It is a good thing I love to write because this is quite the task, next to a self-proclaimed deadline on my book. Thinking of ideas for new Blogs, both for Breadfruit House and Stories from my rocking chair and jotting them down is time-consuming. No dilly-dallying for me this summer.  

New ideas for the future. 

We are happy that this is our 3rd year working with ‘Worldschool,’ a high school project in the Netherlands. Every non-profit can get involved by writing down a question or problem, and students from different schools can sign up for the project, as part of their educational program. This time we have asked the students for tools, tips, and engaging ways to attract and keep donors interested in continuous support. We are inviting them to bring us unconventional and outside-the-box ideas. We received an impressive and well-thought-out monitoring tool to track progress during the program from one of the schools in the 2021 rounds.

This is our reason why.

To get the word out about the Foundation, we are setting up a plan to ask ambassadors to come on board. I am currently researching how that works with other non-profits and what we feel is essential when someone wants to become our ambassador. I will explain more about that in one of the upcoming Blogs. 

I am currently finishing press releases both in Dutch and English. After approval by the board, they will go out to different newspapers and magazines, which is both an exciting and somewhat intimidating idea.

It is slowly becoming very real, and of course, that is the dream, the vision, but expansion also means other and more responsibilities. From coming up with texts for the website behind my laptop to now setting up and building an organization is quite a journey already.  

I am confident that I can do this, taking it step by step and trusting that I will meet the right people and find the resources needed at that ideal time.

Paying it forward. 

Here is my last thought on why graduation is bittersweet and happy all in one. I recently was invited to attend graduation at Yampiece Community Preschool.

Showing the expression of one of the gradauting children
The ceremony was a bit long.

As you all know by now, I strongly believe in paying it forward and sharing what we have. On behalf of the Foundation, I feel therefore blessed to donate some new, age-appropriate books to the school.  

The graduation was in their brand-new building that doubles as a shelter in case of a storm.

The school is small and very much part of the community. That day six students graduated, and I learned that some of them will attend Goodwill Primary School after the summer. That means I might meet them again in one of our programs.  

After teaching them two years in a row, it must be bittersweet for the teachers and principal to see the students off. Who knows, in the future, we might even start a preschool program.

For now, I just loved seeing these curious minds ready to start a new chapter in their lives. And they loved being the star of the ceremony that day, in their beautiful gowns and caps.

See you on my next Blog,

from the Nature Island,


You can help children in Dominica become empowered adults through creativity and build a strong foundation for the future!

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