Over time, we have experienced that people who visit St John become passionate about St John. We have often been asked how people can help give back to an island they have grown to love. There are lots of ways to connect and help St John organizations (and people) whether you are on island or back home and just longing to be here. Here are a few ways of helping either by contributing to one of the many St John organizations or by volunteering while you are on island:
St John Animal Care Center (SJACC)
The St John Animal Care Center has done a wonderful job of rescuing and caring for the island dogs and cats (and sundry other creatures). They maintain feral cat feeding stations and manages a no-kill shelter with indoor kennels for dogs and a limited number of cages for cats. They have developed a foster care program as well as programs to transition their charges to forever families both on island and stateside. If you are coming to St John as you pack your suitcase tuck in some pet supplies (food items, leashes pet toys) which are always a welcome donation. If you are already on island and want to help head on over to the Animal Care Center and volunteer to walk a dog or help with the feral cat feeding program. And, if you are back home longing for St John, you can donate to some of the SJAAC fundraisers which happen every year.
Friends of the VI National Park
Our National Park is very fortunate to have the Friends of the VI National Park (FVINP) as their advocate whose mission is to: advance the protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources of Virgin Islands National Park and promote the responsible enjoyment of this unique national treasure while educating and inspiring adults and children to be stewards of the environment. And, boy, do they do it well!
The Friends supports environmental education, natural resource protection, cultural preservation and scientific research. Their accomplishments and goals are clearly detailed on their website. Each initiative shows how much money was raised, or is needed to fund the initiative. So, find an initiative you are interested in and feel free to donate on-line.
Great Expectations is proud to be a Preferred Partner of the Friends.
St John Rescue
One of the most wonderful, all volunteer, organizations on St John is St John Rescue. It is a bit like insurance, you hope you never need to use it but, if you do, you want it easily accessible. St John Rescue's mission is: dedicated to providing emergency rescue and medical support services to the St. John's EMS, Police, Fire, National Park and Health Clinic personnel. They have the capability to help out both with land and water based emergencies and over the course of a year respond to over 150 emergency situations. If you live on island consider volunteering and if you are an occasional St John visitor, please consider donating to this very important life-saving organization.
St John Community Foundation
The St. John Community Foundation is committed to collaboratively identifying and addressing community needs to enhance St. John; A True Paradise in which to live, work and visit! This is an 'umbrella' not-for-profit organization that supports all sorts of good causes that benefit St John residents such as supporting St John's recycling program, Dial-A-Ride which helps St John seniors, disabled residents & visitors, St John Film Society, and Using Sport for Social Change. We (Great Expectations) were privileged to support a wonderful initiative, through the St John Community Foundation, to teach St John school children with disabilities (or in their case -- super-abilities) tennis. They are currently organizing fundraising initiatives to buy: supplies for the homeless, home repair supplies, shredder/chipper for our community parks, a vehicle for the St John Animal Care Center, and equipment for our recycling program. If you are interested in donating to a specific project or just to support this amazing organization, you can do donate online.
St John Cancer Fund
Unfortunately, many St John residents do not have health insurance and, even if they do, they often need to go 'off island' to get health care. Many times their travel expenses, or even basic health care expenses, are not covered by insurance. The St John Cancer Fund is often a lifesaving organization since their support of individuals can make the difference for people to receive necessary medical care.
Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station
Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) was established to, as its name indicates, promote environmental educational activities and scientific research. VIERS is a biology field station, an eco-camp, located on the remote southern shore of St. John at Lameshur Bay. They operate a wonderful summer eco-camp and science camp for young residents of St John. Kids experience hands-on activities which give the campers a better understanding of the wonderful environment of St John. As an adult, if you have the time of spending a couple of weeks (or even a couple of months) volunteering might consider helping with the youth camps during the summer or helping out to provide staff support. Donations are, of course, always welcomed and appreciated. Or, if you are interested in volunteering with an organized group consider the trips to St John that are planned through REI Adventures to the VIERS Campground.
Giving back to St John, the island we love, will help ensure it thrives for decades to come.