Children's Homes receive over $150,000 in school supplies and books courtesy staff at TSTT

TSTT employee and Book Buddies sponsor, Marissa Diaz, shares a warm embrace with a caregiver from the Swaha Vishok Bhavan Children's Home.
Port of Spain, Trinidad, August 31, 2018
Over 140 students from 13 Children’s Homes throughout Trinidad and Tobago are now fully equipped for the dawning academic year having received a full complement of back-to-school supplies courtesy a host of selfless employees from TSTT.
The bmobile Foundation 2018 Book Buddies Programme culminated at TSTT’s Head Office on Edward Street, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday 28 August, when several Children’s Homes were presented with overflowing packages of book bags, stationery, textbooks and craft equipment, all courtesy staff at TSTT.
Assisting with the distribution was TSTT’s Executive Vice President Legal and Corporate Secretary Gayle Allick Solomon. She revealed, “Two or three years ago, my department volunteered our time. This year, I felt like I needed to do much more and wanted to give back in a more tangible way. I really enjoyed doing this because it took me back to my childhood. It’s my first year, but definitely not my last.”
Allick Solomon added that the gesture from her fellow employees created a welcomed buzz of team building efforts among co-workers.
“This is the first organization that I have worked where there are such extensive programmes. What I love about this, is that bmobile has partnered with these Homes annually and that there’s continuity. As employees, we have fun being a part of this.”
Susan Jessop, Business Operations Assistant I at the St. Dominic’s Children’s Home, was all smiles as she received packages for 18 benefactors. She applauded the continuous efforts of TSTT’s staff and knew they would not go in vain.
“It’s one less major thing we have to worry about,” said a relieved Jessop. “The students received everything on their book lists. On behalf of everyone at the St Dominic’s Home, I would like to thank bmobile for continuing this gesture each year by giving back to these kids. It does a lot for their education and confidence.”
Supervisor/caregiver at the Joshua Home for Boys (Arima), Don Robertson, shared similar sentiments as he received the school supplies on behalf of his students. “bmobile’s timely input eases the financial load on Homes like ours who look to the public and corporate T&T for support.”
“Some of the boys do not have parents who can provide for them so it is very important that a corporate establishment like TSTT can come on board to assist in providing for these children,” he stated. “We at the Home will ensure it goes a long way, especially amidst what is taking place in our country at this present time. It gives these young men peace of mind and a platform to better themselves. Altogether, nine young men have been provided with school supplies.”
‘It is better to give than to receive’ could well be the mantra of  Cilicia Davis, an employee at TSTT’s Security Department for over 10 years and a bmobile book buddies volunteer from inception nine years ago. It was an eye-opening experience to realise that so many children were at risk of starting the new school year without books and other important school supplies.
“Why not give back to these kids?” she asked. “People spend money on frivolous things so why not? The feeling you get from helping someone who you don’t even know is priceless. I hope these children do well in their studies. That is the only reward we need and for that, I have no problem giving back to the community through this initiative.”
The 13 Homes who were beneficiaries of the 2018 Book Buddies Programme were Cyril Ross Nursery, Ferndean’s Place Children’s Home, Joshua Home for Boys, Margaret Kistow Children’s Home, Rainbow Rescue, Islamic Home for Children, Marian House, Swaha Vishok Bhavan, RAFFA House, St Dominic’s Children’s Home, Bridge of Hope, Syphil Home of Love and CREDO.

Gayle Allick Solomon, TSTT's EVP Legal and Corporate Secretary and Don Robertson, Supervisor at Joshua Home for Boys (centre) are surrounded by representatives from the beneficiary homes and TSTT Employee Volunteers at the official Book Buddies handover. 

 Elicia Jessop (left) from the St. Dominic's Children's Home and Sandra Stapleton, Manager at the Cyril Ross Nursery (2nd from right) join TSTT's Gayle Allick Solomon and Marissa Diaz in celebrating another successful year of Book Buddies. 

TSTT's Gayle Allick Solomon and a representative from the Islamic Home for Children. Thanks to the generosity of TSTT Employees, children from the Islamic Home will return to school fully equipped to start the new academic year.

TSTT employee and Book Buddies sponsor, Marissa Diaz, shares a warm embrace with a caregiver from the Swaha Vishok Bhavan Children's Home.