Great News from Project Promise

Founded in the US Virgin Islands, Project Promise is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk youth on St. Croix. Despite being a relatively new organization, Project Promise is having a big impact on their entire St. Croix community and on other communities near and far. “We’re not only impacting a small group of at-risk students participating in our holistic eight-year flagship program, the Caterpillar Project, we are impacting the lives of many more students through our various other programs,” said president Resa O’Reilly. This past year alone, they have directly impacted the lives of over 1,000 children, adults, and families.

In 2018, Project Promise’s community service projects largely focused on assisting the St. Croix community with the rebuilding process. They planted a grove of coconut trees at a local beach to help with the post-hurricane revitalization process and were instrumental in helping Howard University add St. Croix as an Alternative Spring Break destination, and worked alongside the group on three revitalization projects, all on the same day. Their projects not only focused on the physical needs of the community, but on the emotional needs as well.  Through the St. Croix Trauma Intervention & Relief Project, Project Promise delivered trauma intervention services to residents who were still reeling from the psychological and emotional trauma experienced from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“Through projects like our annual Toys for Tanzania, Educating South Africa Initiatives & Walk for Refugee Awareness, we broadened our international impact in 2018, said O’Reilly. During a personal volunteer service trip to South Africa, O’Reilly fell in love with the group of kindergarteners with whom she was working. After learning that these children all lived in crushing poverty, she returned home, and began raising funds to assist these students. Project Promise staff and volunteers, alongside the Caterpillars, raised $9,100 to pay one year of tuition for the entire class of 30 South African school children.

In October 2018, Project Promise launched their fourth project, the Ticket to Ride Buck Island Program. The Ticket to Ride (TTR) program provided public school 5th graders the opportunity to visit the Buck Island Reef National Monument. Like their Every Kid in a Park Salt River Bay Program for 6th graders, TTR Buck Island included two school visits by a Ranger and an exciting field trip to the park. Through a partnership with the National Park Service and other community members, they provided almost 700 students the opportunity to visit two of St. Croix’s National Parks, many of whom visited the parks for the first time.

The Caterpillars continued to accomplish great things in 2018. They had three first time honor roll students, one of whom made the top ten student list and maintained her honor roll status the entire school year. Another Caterpillar increased his end of year grade point average 25 points from June 2016 to earn a 90% in June 2018! In addition to those amazing accomplishments, their very own Vianca Medina wrote a book, “Dream a Dream!” On December 1st, Project Promise launched the book’s publication and began selling “Dream A Dream” locally and online. “Dream a Dream,” is an inspirational story about a shy little girl who learns to believe in herself and follow her dreams, which mirrors Vianca’s achievements.

In summary, the organization started the year with the entire island still recovering from the devastation brought by two hurricanes. And they are ending the year excited to be settling into their “new” space back on campus at the Lew Muckle Elementary School. “We are truly grateful for the many opportunities we have had to make a positive difference in the world. Our list of 2018 accomplishments help to illustrate our growing impact, which wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of our generous community,” O’Reilly stated. To help Project Promise continue their vitally important work, donate at: