Back to the books

Solana Gooding has spearheaded a campaign to find textbooks for students who need them. If you’ve ever wanted to change the world, this is how you do it. 

by Solana Gooding 

Meet Itesha.

Itesha is just starting off her first year of Secondary School at The Bequia Community High. I hadn’t met Itesha before the first week of school, orientation day, looking beautiful in her fresh uniform and hair bows. But I had several chats with her mother who reached out after barely being able to rustle up enough money to pay for Itesha’s registration. She had no idea where she was going to find funds to purchase the remaining 12 text books she still needed.

With the help of some very good friends and her girlfriends, who are regular visitors to Bequia, donations of new text books were made, and donations of used books collected and with the assistance from Mrs. Amecia Williamssourcing second-hand books on the mainland. They made it all possible to put learning materials into this young lady’s hands.

Knowledge is power Itesha, be a phenomenal woman! We expect great things from you.

This is Jolan.

He is just about fully ready for school, minus one text book we weren’t able to source, but the search continues. Last week we collected all his remaining text books, and that Friday we traveled to the mainland and were able to get him new uniforms, brand new shoes, school supplies, and he was gifted a kool new back pack. Awesome job team. 

We should all be very proud–amazing efforts and networking. Recognizing the need to help more young kids like him, finding his books may have possibly gave birth to a whole new initiative on Bequia. … on to the next … 

If ever there is a young man, who I think has a bright future ahead of him, it would be Ty.

Ty has the focus, is driven, and motivated. Now entering his fourth year at The Bequia SDA Secondary School, he is determined to achieve. 

The first time I got to interact with Ty is while working along with him at a community lighting event. Ty showed up every night no complaint, accompanied by his mother and his few months old baby sister in hand. His willingness to help with little to no supervision needed, his love for fixing and creating things, the attention to care he gave his baby sister without having to be instructed, drew me to conclude what an impressive young man.

So when I got talking to Ty’s mother about looking for books for Jolan, she was willing to help get the word out, but what she did not tell me is she too was having a difficult time getting her son’s own books, nine of which he still needed, because she had been unemployed since March when COVID started to lock down the world and no money was coming in.

My first instant thought after becoming aware of this was, “OOOOHHHH HELL NO!” We’ve definitely got to get these books, even though we were unsure of how. A new Facebook plead was started, feeling I might have exhausted all my resources, but before we knew it in minutes, in chimed long-time friends, new and old Facebook friends, who jumped right in and just like that we were able to get all of Ty’s remaining textbooks. We give huge gratitude to those who attributed to this success, it was not at all possible without you.

I believe Ty will be an asset to any establishment, and I know his current temporary employer, Kerry, who he works with when school is on break and who I also believe he looks up to as a mentor, can attest to this.

Dear Ty, a successful warrior is a man with laser-like focus. Stay focussed. 

Now on to the next two students on the list. LETS DO THIS!

Solana Gooding is the owner of Solana’s in Port Elizabeth. This textbook initiative was all hers, and while she applauds those who contributed in various ways, we applaud her for having a great idea and then running with it. 
And, as she notes above, “on to the next.” There is an ongoing need for text books. If you have any that you no longer need, you can deliver them either to Solana at the shop, or to the Learning Center, also in Port Elizabeth. If you’ve got more than you can carry, let me know and I’ll be happy to arrange a pickup. If you know someone who needs text books, let me know that as well. As Solana says, let’s do this!

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