Jul 11, 2019

Launch of the HAPPY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE – Aruba’s Visitor Charity Program

 

On Monday, July 1st 2019, CEDE Aruba, together with the Aruba Timeshare Association and endorsed by the Aruba Tourism Authority launched the HAPPY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE,  a new platform for all visitors who would like to make a donation to good causes in Aruba. The priority is set to support projects for the Aruban youth. Visitors can make a donation thru website of the project www.happycommunityaruba.org, or they can donate by using the first digital donation kiosk in the Caribbean, which will soon be available in several timeshare hotel lobby’s. In addition, some resorts will offer the possibility to make a donation at the checkout.

Millions of people around the world love Aruba, the ONE HAPPY ISLAND and the home away from home! Tourism in Aruba has been growing many years and is performing very well. Especially US Visitors have a special relation with Aruba. However, tourism also brings challenges to small islands such as Aruba. About 6 of 10 youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 are alone or without adult supervision after school time. In most cases because their parents are working. In addition, many of Aruba’s youngsters do not travel often and experience boredom and lack of activities during school vacations. Furthermore, 4 out of 10 Aruban youngsters do not finish secondary school. This is a very big issue for Aruba’s future economy and the tourism industry.

The above mentioned challenges are the reason that CEDE Aruba approached the Aruba Timeshare Association to propose a partnership for a fundraising program. Together, they initiated a survey among timeshare owners. The results show that there is quite some interest to donate and to volunteer. In 2019, CEDE Aruba and ATSA signed a cooperation agreement. This agreement clarifies the roles of both parties. While CEDE Aruba will manage the donations and select the youth projects that will supported, ATSA will motivate and support members to enter in the program. The responsibility of the participating resorts is to properly train their staff, in order to inform guests about this positive program. In Addition, ATSA together with CEDE Aruba, will also engage other potential partners.

Where will the donations go? A recent investigation conducted by CEDE Aruba and ATHA, a local association of youth organizations, shows that more than 60% of Aruba’s youth is asking for afterschool programs, aiming at sports, cooking classes, art programs and a safe place to hang out with friends.  More than 50 non-profit organizations are motivated to contribute to a national afterschool program. Donations to the HAPPY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE will help us to start and support after school programs with a focus on time for homework and diverse, meaningful activities. In addition, donations will support mentorship activities during school vacation and support projects aiming at youth at risk. Last but not least, donations will also support projects that reduce the amounts of school dropouts and create new opportunities for youngsters to integrate back in education and to find a career in one of Aruba’s countless companies.

CEDE Aruba will make sure that 100% of the donations reach meaningful projects of local non-profits and will check upon quality and transparent finances of the offered programs. This way every visitor can be assured that the donations will hit its goal. CEDE Aruba is a dynamic community foundation, supporting nonprofits in Aruba since 1986. This small and hands-on community agency promotes cooperation between social organizations in several sectors. CEDE Aruba provides grants, helps non-profits in the development of projects and brings together organizations to improve cooperation and make bigger impact. In addition, CEDE Aruba has built a network with national and international funding agencies.

The HAPPY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE has a message to Aruba visitors: ONE HAPPY ISLAND – ONE ACT OF KINDNESS. Get engaged, inspired and connected with our local community. Let’s build a bridge between community organizations and the tourism industry. Help us to keep Aruba’s youth happy. The Aruba Tourism Authority endorses this initiative for 2 reasons: first of all, because the focus is on the youth of Aruba, and secondly, because the is a demand of visitors and cooperate groups that would like to help and get involved in local initiatives.

For more information, please visit www.happycommunityaruba.org or send us an e-mail at info@happycommunity.org. Local companies that would like to help us reach visitors can give us a call at CEDE Aruba, phone 582-7666 and ask for Ms. Kimberly Mathilda, the project coordinator of the HAPPY COMMUNITY INITIATIVE.