We recently got back from our trip to Negril, Jamaica for the Social Media On the Sand conference at the Beaches Resort. At the conference, The Sandals Foundation, non-profit for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, announced its new collaboration with School Specialty through the Pack for a Purpose® program. This partnership will assist travelers to Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts, who wish to bring along much-needed supplies for local schools in the Caribbean.


Pack for a Purpose® program

Before the conference, all the attendees received a lightweight backpack that we filled with school supplies. I packed the recommend five pounds of supplies in my suitcase to travel to Jamaica. (Plus I had extra space leftover to bring souvenirs home!)

Together, we’ll help to make a meaningful impact on the education of thousands of children throughout the Caribbean. Over the next twelve months, School Specialty has committed its support to students and teachers in The Islands with a donation of educational supplies valued at $150,000. First priority has earmarked a portion of these supplies for schools across The Bahamas including schools in hardest hit islands like Grand Bahamas and Andros for hurricane relief efforts.

Most of the time when you make a donation, you don’t really get to see how your contribution makes a difference. I actually got to hug that little girl that will use those markers and those scissors that I carefully picked out. It’s truly a life changing experience.


How You Can Participate

The non-profit Pack for a Purpose program encourages travelers to bring up to 5 pounds of needed supplies in their suitcases to meet the needs of people in nearby underdeveloped regions. All Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, The Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados and Turks and Caicos serve as participating destinations for the program and have collected and distributed thousands of pounds of needed materials to the many educational institutions which the Sandals Foundation supports.


School Specialty has spent time with educators in the islands to discuss the school supplies that are desperately needed. They developed an assortment of pre-assembled backpacks filled with fundamental items for different grade levels, including art supplies, pens and pencils, notebooks and paper, various accessories such as calculators, rulers, staplers, scissors, and more.


As you pack for upcoming vacation, please shop these supplies and use the promo code 081BEACHES at checkout to receive the price you see in red. They will ship these items directly to your door, so that you can pack them in your luggage. Please order at least 3 weeks prior to your departure to ensure on-time delivery.

Visit to schoolspecialty.com/sandals to view the school supply list.


Reading Road Trip: Mt. Airy School

On the first full day of the Social Media On the Sand conference, the attendees took buses to local schools to read to the children. My group visited Mt. Airy School for kids ages 3-10 years old, and I was placed with a 5-year-old girl, same age as my youngest daughter. They start school at age 3 in Jamaica and it definitely shows. She was so incredibly sweet and very, very smart for her age.

We read an Amelia Bedelia book and colored together! We took lots of photos and I showed her pictures of my daughters. She took selfies with my phone and got to play some Candy Crush. I also got to give her a keepsake photo of us together!


Since HP was one of the conference partners, they sent us all the brand new HP Sprocket. Basically it’s a portable smartphone printer that fits in your pocket! You can quickly print 2″ x 3″ stickable snapshots from virtually anywhere… even Jamaica.

Beaches Moms were among the first to experience the instant fun you can have with Sprocket. All the school children went crazy over it. Everyone wanted a photo to take home!


We did a lot of awesome things on our trip to Jamaica, but getting up close and personal with the local children was one of my favorite memories! If you are planning to visit The Islands, look for a Reading Road Trip opportunity near you. For about $25 per person, they will make the arrangements and take care of transportation for you. It’s a humbling experience. I would love to visit again and bring my children along.


Disclosure: I attended the Social Media On the Sand conference at Beaches Negril, which was attended by a number of special guests including event sponsors and influential media bloggers, who sought to sharpen their social media skills with immersive and empowering sessions. As part of this event, I received complimentary products from sponsors, discounted resort rates, and other exciting benefits.