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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, May 21, 2024


The year's only fund-raiser for V.I. Beacon Schools begins Friday, and Beacon executive director Valerie George is orchestrating its every aspect.
The year's only fund-raiser for V.I. Beacon Schools begins Friday, Aug. 11, and Beacon executive director Valerie George is orchestrating its every aspect.
George works on every detail to ensure a memorable event for the athletes and sponsors who began arriving Wednesday for the 2000 Beacon Schools of the V.I. Celebrity Golf Tournament at Mahogany Run. With about a dozen volunteers — all participants in the program from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. — the director reviews the tasks at hand.
Greeters will be needed to meet arriving planes. Ticket takers are assigned for the banquets. Two team members will provide concierge services for visitors and their guests. Others will assist with the celebrity auction.
"I am so pleased with the individuals here that are volunteering, because everybody that's volunteering is part of the Beacon program," she says. "They're mentors, they do homework assistance with the children or they are participants in the program. And we have representatives that volunteer for this event from all three islands."
Through the rest of the week, those volunteers will be very busy. Five flights from the U.S. mainland bearing corporate sponsors and/or celebrity golfers began arriving shortly after noon Wednesday. Another six are scheduled for Thursday and five more for Friday. Among those scheduled to arrive are former Miss USA Kenya Moore, actors Arsenio Hall of TV's "Martial Law" and Mehki Phifer ("Clockers," "Soul Food"), boxer Frankie Lyles, Dallas Cowboys legend Ed "Too Tall" Jones and NBA great Phil Chenier.
Each August for the last four years, the community-oriented school program for children and families has held a celebrity golf tournament. It's Beacon Schools only fund-raiser; the rest of its funding comes through grants and government subsidies.
The non-profit program has more than 4,000 members and is still growing, George says. Beacons provide free after-school learning center opportunities for middle- and low-income children and families.
Located in public school facilities, the Beacons provide accessible after-school learning opportunities for adults and youths. They are staffed by volunteers from the community.
This year 60 mentors from law enforcement agencies, businesses, schools, and a public- and private-citizen base provided a one-on-one juvenile mentoring program called Jump for at-risk junior high school boys at the Julius E. Sprauve, Addelita Cancryn and Elena Christian Beacons. The scope of the program includes everything from sports to performing arts, parenting programs, beach cleanups and quadrille dancing lessons.
George tells her troops one of the most important things they can express to every tourney participant and sponsor, from home and abroad, is appreciation for their willingness to support Beacon schools. Even the bus boy at the banquet and the bellman at the hotel, she said — be sure to thank them, because their employer-sponsors are helping to make this year's tournament possible.
Tournament festivities start Friday with a sponsors' reception and dinner at the Renaissance Grand Beach Resort. Saturday is dedicated to practice rounds at the Mahogany Run Golf Course, topped off with a cocktail party and silent auction at the Renaissance. The tournament is Sunday, capped by an awards banquet at the Mahogany Run Banquet Room.
George also says it is important that those coming to help raise funds meet and interact with volunteers, so the visitors can learn a bit about the dedicated Virgin Islanders who are helping to make Beacon Schools a success year-round.
"It's a true community operation. It's made by the community, and it's the community that makes it grow," she says.

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