PHILIPSBURG:--- Kidz at Sea Foundation will be again participating with 2 teams made up of youth from the Milton Peters College (MPC), Sundial School and Charlotte Brookson Academy. The youth will be racing on MoonDance, a 36ft Catalina and Purple Heart, the boat which was built by MPC students last year and got a 6th place in their class after having never been raced before. The past weeks have been spent training for the Regatta, including basic boat handling skills. Besides sailing, the Kidz at Sea Foundation has a number of activities going on this coming week made possible by a number of sponsors.
Together with international sponsor Essilor, the world leader in corrective lenses, Kidz At Sea Foundation is examining the eyes of all youngsters that are enrolled in the Kidz At Sea program, which includes children from the I Can Foundation and Ujima Foundation. Prescription glasses are donated to those who are in need, which should impact their performance in school. In addition, Essilor will be visiting the White & Yellow Cross to examine the eyes of their patients, following up with some of the severe cases that were detected last year and visit the local youngsters in Anguilla, including those of the sailing program to broaden their impact on the islands.
Founder of Kidz At Sea, Garth Steyn, explains the importance of their cooperation with Essilor. “St Maarten has limited equipment, eye doctors and eye care available. Whatever is available comes at a high cost and is not covered by insurance. As a result, eye problems are often not discovered until the eyes are already seriously affected. By catching poor vision and irregularities early, serious damage can often be prevented. Obviously, we also want to raise awareness about the damage the sun can do to one’s eyes, especially when being on the water sailing. Proper sun protection is a must, which is what Essilor provides for the youth enrolled in the Kidz At Sea Program.”
This year Kidz at Sea has partnered up with several local businesses to organize a raffle to raise funds for its programs. Tickets are for sale during the Thursday and Saturday Regatta Parties. Kidz At Sea Administrator Michele Korteweg mentions “We will have a booth where people can get information about our Foundation, but also about the work Essilor is doing on the island as well as worldwide. To add some fun, we have included a photo booth where sailors & partygoers can take fun photos to take home with them. Prizes have been kindly donated by a variety of local businesses. The first prize is a dinghy, donated by Budget Marine, this is a new brand they are carrying called Carib Marine, 2nd place is a weekend stay at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort and 3rd place are 2 VIP Tickets for the Sunday Regatta Party, Essilor is also contributing high-end brand sunglasses. We can’t thank the local community enough for their support.” Raffle tickets are sold at $5 per ticket or $20 for 5 tickets.
“We would like to show that the St Maarten Heineken Regatta is more than just a sailing event, it has become a platform for organizations to work together with benefits going way beyond the marine industry. In our case, the Kidz at Sea Foundation brought in Essilor USA, who is willing to, not only support our Foundation but also the wider St Maarten community” Steyn adds.
The Kidz At Sea Foundation was started in 2012 with the goal to introduce St. Maarten youth to all prospects of the marine industry by means of boat building and sailing. Furthermore, the two programs teach the students specific industry related skills and encourage personal development, giving them an advantage when applying for a job.
The Essilor Vision Foundation is committed to eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences, and to providing underprivileged people the opportunity to live a better life through better sight. Since 2008 the Essilor Vision Foundation has provided more than 690,000 screenings to individuals in need with the help of many partners.
Essilor is the world leader in corrective lenses. The success of the group, which is present in more than 100 countries, is the result of a strategy that has been driven by innovation for more than 160 years. From design to manufacturing, the group develops a wide range of lenses to correct and protect eyesight. Its mission is to "improve lives by improving sight" of everyone in the world to see well using lenses tailored to their needs. The group, therefore, devotes more than 150 million euros a year on research and innovation to offer increasingly efficient products.