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Giving Back: A Reading Road Trip with Sandals Foundation

Have you ever considered giving back on vacation? This year, I attended the Social Media on the Sand Conference at Beaches Negril resort and had the opportunity to participate in a Reading Road Trip Experience through the Sandals Foundation.

The Reading Road Trip initiative is aimed at improving literacy, comprehension and vocabulary of children throughout the Caribbean. The trip takes place every Thursday and is available through Island Routes Adventure Tours.  The experience  allows guests of Sandals and Beaches Resorts – in Jamaica, Antigua, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Lucia and Exuma in the Bahamas – to visit a Foundation adopted school and lend literacy support to students.


reading road trip in negril jamaica

All of the attendees of the Social Media on the Sand Conference spent the first full morning of the conference learning more about the Sandals Foundation before we were all divided into groups and bussed to various schools in Negril to volunteer for our Reading Road Trip.  My group took a happy trip to Happy Hearts Early Childhood Institution in Negril, Jamaica.


Reading roadtrip experience with the sandals foundation in Negril Jamaica

It was so heartwarming and FUN to read to these children, listen to them, and learn about how and where THEY learn.

Reading Roadtrip with sandals foundationJamaica


I got to know these three little guys so well on our trip. I learned about their families, what they like, their school and what books they loved.


reading roadtrip in Negril Jamaica


I was so honored that they shared their schools, their lives and their time with me on this trip. Reading to these children, coloring with them, and listening to them talk about their families was one of the highlights of my trip.

reading road trip with sandals foundation in negril jamaica

reading roadtrip Negril Jamaica with sandals foundation



reading roadtrip with sandals foundation


reading roadtrip sandals foundation


Visitors to the resorts can volunteer (for a small fee which includes the cost of round trip transportation) 2 hours of their time at one of The Sandals Foundation’s adopted schools and interact with children and help them with their literacy skills. If you want to participate with a Reading Road Trip when you visit a Sandals/Beaches Resort, you may sign up with Island Routes Tours via the tour company’s website, its call centre at 1-888-429-5478 (toll free from Jamaica), or Island Routes Tours desk at any Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple resort.

reading roatrip with sandals foundation



While we were there, the kids at Happy Hearts colored photos to send to the children of Haiti and the Bahamas who were affected recently by Hurricane Matthew.  You too can help out by donating to the Beaches Moms campaign to support of the Sandals Foundation’s Hurricane Matthew fundraising efforts.  You can donate by clicking here and placing Lashawn Wiltz or Everyday Eyecandy in the comments! 


reading roadtrip with sandals foundation, negril jamaiaca


Do you think you would enjoy a Reading Road Trip at a Sandals Resort? Have you ever volunteered on vacation? What do you think of this initiative?

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  • Reply
    Maureen @Scoops of Joy
    November 8, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Aww this post touches my heart so much. Bravo to you for doing this and what a great road trip that helps these children. I wish there are move events like this all over the world to help our children.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I loved seeing pictures of the Happy Hearts school! Those boys are just adorable. It was such a crazy rewarding experience that I hope many people get to do. It is worth every minute!

    • Reply
      November 8, 2016 at 10:07 am

      It really was!! It’s something that I think I’ll do even if we go back without Beaches Moms!

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    Sarah Bailey
    November 8, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Oh wow what an amazing way to volunteer some of your time, it looks like such an amazing opportunity.

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    Paula Schuck
    November 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

    This just warms my heart. There needs to be a big ramp up in the spirit of giving back in this world. There’s too much selfishness and apathy.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

    This sound like SUCH a great project! I hope it catches fire! EVERY person deserves an education to make life better or just the way they picture it to be!

  • Reply
    Jacqui @FlightsFancyMom
    November 8, 2016 at 9:19 am

    This sounds like a great experience! Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces would be so worth it! Thank you for sharing!

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    Angelic Sinova
    November 8, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    What an awesome experience. I would have loved to take a Reading Road Trip at a Sandals Resort! It’s so important to help others and to give back. It makes us all stronger as a people.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    What a great foundation! I would love to do this and volunteer to help at any of these schools!

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    Libertad Green
    November 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    No, I’ve never heard to doing volunteer work while on vacation. It’s certainly an interesting idea!

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    kita bryant
    November 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I would love to volunteer and look forward to doing more of it in the New Year!

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    Pam Wattenbarger
    November 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I had no idea that Sandals did this. It is always great to be able to help out and give back. This is really neat!

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    November 8, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Recently I discovered volunteering as a vacation travel experience. I must say it has been the most rewarding and fulfilling vacation ever. Happy to see more opportunities coming up

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    November 8, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    A girl after my own heart! Thank you for doing what you do! We need more women like you!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I would love giving back while on vacation. We recently had a chance to do just that on a cruise to the Dominican Republic. I really enjoyed it, and l would do it again. It was really nice teaching English to the kids especially.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I love that you’re giving back! You’re blog is such an inspiration!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I love that you’re giving back. You’re blog is such an inspiration!

  • Reply
    Bill S
    November 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    What an amazing foundation!!! What a great way to give back while on a vacation like this.

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    November 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    My heart is so full seeing this happy, smiling and eager to learn faces in my home country. So glad you were able to experience this part of the island. The children are truly a joy. I plan on taking volunteer work vacations. Definitely worth it to give back and to fill yourself up with gratitude.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    November 9, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    This is such a great idea, I’ve never given back while on vacation. I love to read to children so I would have really enjoyed this opportunity.

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    November 10, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Looks like you had an amazing time and experience! Volunteering while on vacation? Love the idea

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    November 10, 2016 at 10:31 am

    That’s a wonderful initiative. How nice is must be to give back even while having fun on vacation.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    What a beautiful experience that must have been! You capture it well too. What a great way for everyone to give back.

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    November 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    That is awesome! I never considered volunteering on vacation, but I would love to do that. The next time we go on vacation I’ll have to see I can do something like that.

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    Latoy | Life and a Budget
    November 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Now I didn’t know you could do stuff like this. It definitely sounds fun!

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    November 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    This is amazing! I love volunteering! Thanks for sharing this part of you with us! I would love to volunteer in this type of environment one day!

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    November 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Yes, I just read about this from another blogger! I think it’s awesome that you were able to give back while on vacation, I’d definitely be interested in doing it.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I had no idea Sandals did this…you know, partnered to give it’s visitors the opportunity to reach out to the community. I would really love this. There is no better investment made than time with a child.

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    Chubskulit Rose
    November 11, 2016 at 6:58 am

    What a great cause you guys are doing. It must be an uplifiting experience for you all.

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    November 11, 2016 at 9:29 am

    This warms my heart. I actually read about this from another blogger as well and I definitely want to visit the kiddies and make my next Jamaican vacation more meaningful.

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    Elle (CleverlyChanging)
    November 12, 2016 at 4:46 am

    This is an amazing cause. Wow! I love how you all are giving back to our diverse communities. All the best in your future endeavors. BTW the pictures are gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Tatanisha W
    November 14, 2016 at 12:26 am

    What a beautiful experience LaShawn! And your photos are gorgeous, capturing it all so it feels like we are there (not a surprise, lol). Thank you getting involved and sharing your story!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I’ve always thought about volunteering with Habitat for Humanity but this reading thing seems like way more fun! And a damn sight less taxing!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Love this! That was a really wonderful day with the kids and exploring the school. I definitely feel like I need to go back!

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