The official WorkerAnts’ Colony
Great Ways to Give Back in Nassau – A Community Program
In my short time in Nassau, I met a community of people who make helping others as natural as breathing. Not just the amazing nonprofits that I visited, but pretty much every person I spoke to helped me in some way, like Patricia, a sales person for one of the Paradise Island hotels with whom I had chatted briefly one day, she saw me waiting for the bus a few days later and gave me a ride downtown. Gary Watkins, my taxi driver and an ordained minister who gave me lists of charities in Nassau on my first day in country and told me stories about how people he knows have pulled together to help others (he also discussed Bahamian politics with me, which was fun). Evie and Lynden Tinker, the landlords at the guesthouse I stayed at who took me to run errands, found nonprofits for me to visit and generally went out of their way to be helpful. It is in honor of all of these people that I picked this final group to highlight for our Great Ways to Give Back in Nassau, Bahamas series.
This is not a registered nonprofit, instead it is a group of parents and students in the Foxhill community that are pulling together under the leadership of Anthony Taylor to start a student marching band. Many of the over 85 students that are participating in this program come from the Sandiland Primary School, some travel there from other schools in the area to practice every Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 pm. Classes consist of learning music theory, how to read music and instrument practice.
The man behind the program, Anthony Taylor is retired from the Ministry of Education in Freeport. After he returned to Nassau, he decided to put his years of formal musical education and training to use for his community. He has ample experience with the discipline as over the course of his music career he began numerous bands across the Caribbean, including five in Freeport and four in Jamaica. When I spoke to him I was struck by his dedication to the kids and his commitment to providing a practical and fun after school activity that keeps kids off the streets.
Even though this program is only three months old, the positive effects are already being felt in the community. Good behavior is a requirement for participation and some students have straightened up in order to be stay in the band. In fact, one child’s parent even stopped causing trouble in the community in order keep his child in the program! The kids are also more confident about their future and have pride in being part of a prestigious tradition in the Bahamas. As the students grow older and if they continue to play there is the potential for international travel with some of the award winning Bahamian marching bands.
So how can WorkerAnts around the world who are reading about this program help? Instruments. The program is short of musical instruments and not all of the kids are able to practice even though they can still learn theory and how to read music. If you are local or even just taking a cruise to the Bahamas and have your old high school trumpet, saxophone or clarinet in the attic, consider giving it to this program. Maybe you have another cool idea on how to pitch in and help out, either way, contact Lynden Tinker at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this amazing community program.
Also remember to hunt around and check out some of the WorkerAnts Colonies. These are great online groups where people who care about the world and want to make a difference can meet. Find one you like or start your own!