A Voyage of Discoveries
Resource type: Grantee Story
The shadow of socio-economic class hangs heavy over Bermuda’s school system. From 1994 to 2004, Bermuda saw a steady increase in the percentage of students attending private schools. Only 65% of Bermudian children attend public school, and most of them are black and many are poor. Their opportunities are limited, and their levels of achievement are low.
Purpose and Impact of the Grant
The Bermuda Sloop Foundation (BSF) is taking an island-appropriate approach to changing this picture–helping disadvantaged youth build their self-esteem, skills, knowledge, and networks at sea. The literal vehicle is The Spirit of Bermuda, a historically inspired schooner constructed with Atlantic support.
BSF invites public school youth to embark on learning expeditions intended to instill self-reliance and discipline. The schooner accommodates 26 students at a time on a five-day voyage. Some 700 youngsters set sail each year.
This special out-of-school time (OST) programme offers opportunities to learn ship operation, history and geography, and black Bermudians’ contributions to maritime history. Students also receive technical training in electronics, mechanics, culinary arts, or wood and metal work.
Atlantic support is also enabling BSF to collaborate with other organizations dedicated to quality OST programmes, such as the Bermuda Football Association and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda, in order to connect disadvantaged youth with caring adults and positive experiences on land as well as at sea.