Inspired by her twin daughters, Jacinta Cothran, owner of Little Arches Boutique Hotel, has made children’s charities near and dear to our hearts from the hotel’s inception. Our support of children’s charities started out with Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where the twins, Katie and Mia, spent the first four weeks of their lives. Little Arches along with other businesses owned by Mark and Jacinta Cothran worked together to purchase an incubator.
As their daughters grew, we also started supporting the efforts of the Variety Club of Barbados which is a registered charity of Barbados. The Variety Club was registered in November 1984 and their goal is to raise funds for sick, disadvantaged and disabled children and touches needy children in every community across Barbados as the foremost children’s charity on the island. The Variety Club accomplishes this through several programs including the Caring Program (which provides essential medical care and health equipment), the Variety Freedom Program (which provides mobility, communication devices and independence such as wheelchairs), the Future Kids Program (which encompasses a broad spectrum categorized as education, experiences and play) and the Aunty Olga Memorial School Aid Program (which provides school supplies).
In late 2012, we partnered with Pack for a Purpose and were the first hotel on the island to participate in this very worthwhile effort which even saw persons staying at other hotels reaching out to us as they had “Packed for a Purpose”. Specifically this was to provide supplies to our favourite charity for their Aunty Olga Memorial School Aid Program, named after Dame Olga Lopes-Seale (December 26, 1918 – February 4, 2011). Aunty Olga, as she was affectionately known was a radio announcer for a Saturday morning children’s radio programme and arguably one of the greatest philanthropists in Barbados. She established the Needy Children’s Fund to help children in Barbados with back to school clothes, shoes, school bags and stationery but it eventually grew to include children with mental and physical disabilities. On her death, Aunty Olga asked Variety to maintain this program and keep her legacy alive.
We have been moved by the generosity of our guests and supporters of Pack for a Purpose who visit us and drop off these much needed supplies. Special thanks go out to all of our guests who have brought much needed supplies but especially Mary Anne and Patrick Griepsma and Tracey Friley for their thoughtfulness and continued support. Mary Ann and Patrick are regular visitors to Little Arches (or, as we prefer to call them, part of our Little Arches family) who have over the years donated 45lbs of supplies since 2014. Tracey co-ordinates travel adventures for American women and was one of our first donors in 2013 but May 2019 she brought a group to drop off supplies totaling 24kg. Over the years, more hotels on the island have started to participate recognizing the difference that it makes.
In Barbados, we are fortunate that our government offers free primary and secondary education as our leaders recognize the important role that education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty. However, it takes a community to raise a child and assist with the other needs to ensure that under-privileged children have the necessary items for them to take advantage of the opportunity of education. Little Arches has collected close to 800 pounds of supplies which are necessary for children to continue their education and we could not have had such a positive impact. Thanks to Rebecca and her team at Pack for a Purpose for allowing us to be part of this!