Hal Taylor, president and CEO of Little Switzerland, presented first lady Cecile deJongh with a check for $10,000 for her Literary Initiative, a program with the goal of providing new books written by local authors to Virgin Islands schoolchildren.
“It is our pleasure to fund the Literacy Initiative; a project that has far-reaching benefits for all Virgin Islanders,” Taylor said. “It is an important part of the future of our community’s children.”
Gov. John deJongh Jr. joined the brief ceremony, which took place at Government House before a collection of Little Switzerland and Brietling staff and supporters. Funds for the gift were raised at a March 7 function at which 300 guests, made up of customers and area business leaders, took part in a raffle and auction.
The purpose of the gift was to lend financial support to the community Literacy Initiative, led by the first lady.
“The idea is to get books into the student’s homes," Cecile deJongh said. "Homes that may not have a single book in them at all. The use of local authors also provides children with role models they can learn from and use as inspiration to achieve great things throughout their lives.”
The program costs an estimated $60,000 a year to get the necessary books for area children. It requires yearlong fundraising, culminating in the distribution of new books at Christmastime, presented by Santa in December.
Little Switzerland has been a leading retailer specializing in fine jewelry and timepieces for more than 50 years, with more than 30 stores across the Caribbean. Founded in 1884, Breitling watches is a family business that is one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands.