Teach the Teachers Creates Lasting Impacts

There aren’t enough words to describe just how incredible it is to see our work come to life.

As Teach the Teachers 2016 has come to an end, it’s the simplest things that remind us just how inspired this year’s trip really was.

From impacting Jamaican educators to creating lifelong relationships and memories, we return from each volunteer excursion reminded of the mission of Great Shape! Inc.- to serve all, love all, and join together to create one family.

Below you’ll find a photo of feedback we received from our partner teachers in Jamaica. The inspiration we are able to instill upon one individual is enough to motivate GS!I Inc. for years to come.

Here’s to a successful TtT 2016!

SuperKids: Facts & Familial Love

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Read on to learn more about our upcoming SuperKids 2016 literacy enhancement project!

On October 28th, Great Shape! Inc. will travel to Negril, Jamaica to complete the organization’s annual SuperKids volunteer literacy enhancement project. The project runs for a period of two weeks, the first October 28th to November 6th and the second November 5th to November 14th. 65 volunteers are selected and required to pay for travel and a project fee only; creating a total price range around $750USD + airfare. Provided by the Sandals Foundation, volunteer housing at the Sandals Resorts, amenities, entertainment, and food are provided for volunteers at no cost.

SuperKids volunteers will provide instructional literacy enrichment programs related to Language Arts/Reading, Computer Skills, Music, Sports, and Art to 1st-6th grade students in four Westmoreland/Hanover Parish primary schools around Negril, Jamaica. Georgene Crowe is one of Great Shape! Inc.’s three female founders. Crowe’s passion for serving Jamaica inspires Great Shape! Inc. volunteers. “We are all called to serve,” Crowe says. “I am blessed Great Shape! Is one of my “callings” and I do give thanks and praise.” As Great Shape! Inc. consistently hopes to create family both in the United States and Jamaica, Crowe serve as an exemplary testament to the dedicated passion each Great Shape! Inc. volunteer exhibits.

Great Shape! Inc.’s 2016 SuperKids project provides volunteers with the opportunity to serve, travel, and inspire. SuperKids serves rural Caribbean areas where the literacy rate rests at a mere 40%. Volunteers contribute to providing the essential resources needed to restore the Jamaican school systems. The SuperKids project allows individuals from all age groups, backgrounds, and geographic areas to experience cultural immersion and life changing fulfillment.

Great Shape! Inc.’s mission is dedicated to caring for the Caribbean through incredible volunteer excursions. While traveling and serving abroad, Great Shape! Inc. is proud to help Jamaica achieve the highest good. Crowe says, “Jamaica is a gift I received in 1986.”

Great Shape! Inc. empowers the children and families of Jamaica and the Caribbean by providing access to education and health care.

For more information about Great Shape! Inc. and how you can become a SuperKids volunteer, please visit greatshapeinc.org or contact Lucinda Kay at lucinda@lucindakay.com.

BIG UP to Eric Bell’s ‘Word on the Street’ Food Truck

The food truck business is a booming aspect of the restaurant industry. People of all ages have jumped on the train- the food truck train, that is, to experience mobile cuisine at its finest.

From pizza to crepes, you can find just about any type of palette pleasing food to appease that hungry stomach. But we’ve found a truck that satisfies our stomach and our heart all in one bite.

Meet Eric Bell- the owner and founder of Word on the Street, a fish taco truck based in Ashland, Oregon. He’s a man with a vision and desire to produce quality food with a heartfelt purpose.

With Bell’s effervescent spirit in tow, it’s hard to miss the eccentric and inviting automobile better known as Word on the Street. Whether it’s cruising by or parked to serve eager customers, the truck’s hand drawn mermaid decor makes it a fierce delight for all ages.

“I decided to have an artist paint the truck by hand, ” Bell says. “I think it’s really beautiful.”

As a chef looking for a new venture, Bell decided to purchase the truck only a few months ago to cultivate his passion for sustainable dining. Better yet, Word on the Street serves strictly non-GMO food and sustainable seafood. This palpable devotion to good eats creates the most delicious fish tacos that a food truck business could possibly muster.

“The Monterey Bay Aquarium contacted me for using sustainable food choices,” Bell says. “Now I’ll join their Seafood Watch Program and be on their list of people who support the Seafood Watch.”

Along with its crave-worthy appetite fusions, Word on the Street dishes up ample amounts of charitable works rooted in Bell’s passion to give back. Working closely with non-profit organizations gives Word on the Street a unique flavor- a dash of tasty food mixed with a whole lot of love.

“What the truck is and does is a lot like helping a non-profit,” says Bell. “I don’t have to serve sustainable foods but I do. People who eat at my truck believe in it too.”

And we’ve seen Bell’s dedicated spirit take flight! On July 4th, we were proud to partner with Word on the Street for Ashland’s 4th of July Parade & Celebration in Lithia Park. Just like Great Shape! Inc., Word on the Street puts its mission to inspire, change, and impact at the forefront of its endeavors.

Just take a look at Word on the Street’s mission statement:

“Word on the Street is a local food revolution that is DRIVEN to find people that believe in the same things we do.” 

Simple, rich, inspiring…A direct reflection of what Bell’s business is able to produce.

After only a few short months in business, Bell says it’s the passion and determination of his work that keep Word on the Street on its steady incline.

“It’s good to help others,” says Bell. “It’s good to show up in the world.”

For more information on Word on the Street, visit their facebook page or Instagram @wordonthestreetfood.

Teach the Teachers: Facts & Educational Inspiration

Read on to learn more about our Teach the Teachers 2016 project!

On July 29th, Great Shape! Inc. traveled to Whitehouse, Jamaica to complete the organization’s annual Teach the Teachers project. The project runs for a period of two weeks, the first July 29th to August 7th and the second August 6th to August 15th.

Teach the Teachers volunteers are currently working with Jamaican grades K-6th educators and principals to provide a variety of resources, skills, and training to enhance their craft and bring quality learning experiences to students. Instructional enrichment programs related to Language Arts, Reading, Behavioral Management, and Computer Skills are provided by our incredible volunteers.

Great Shape! Inc.’s 2016 Teach the Teachers project allows volunteers the opportunity to serve, travel, and inspire. Teach the Teachers, an award-winning program, is greatly praised by the Jamaican Ministry of Education. Volunteers contribute to providing the essential resources needed to restore the Jamaican school systems. Overall, Teach the Teachers enables individuals from all age groups, backgrounds, and geographic areas to experience cultural immersion and life changing fulfillment.

We are more than proud of the work we’ve accomplished and anxiously await what’s to come! Be sure to track this year’s TtT progress on our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

ONE LOVE.

 

Health & Happiness Through Service

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Health and happiness are two gifts essential to the goodness of life. GS!I Inc. is dedicated to ensuring these vital necessities are present in Jamaica and St. Lucia no matter the circumstances!

Through our great humanitarian efforts dedicated to serving the greater Caribbean, GS!I Inc. is proud to play a large role in providing health and happiness to those in need. Whether we’re caring for smiles, brightening one’s vision, enhancing education, or providing professional development training, our volunteer efforts are focused on ensuring that the lives of those we serve reach the greatest good possible.

We believe that each and every life is deserving of the utmost care imaginable. Our family welcomes any and all that wish to serve to join us in promoting the solidarity of Jamaica and St. Lucia.

Looking for a chance to find fulfillment and serve? Then JOIN US and participate in our SuperKids literacy enhancement project Oct. 28-Nov. 14, 2016 for your chance to bring incredible amounts of health and happiness to Negril, Jamaica. 

Contact us NOW at 510-893-1751, visit our website at greatshapeinc.org for more detailed information, or APPLY HERE.

It’s never too late to create change. Be a part of our GS!I Inc. tradition of spreading love, light, happiness, and care!

GS!I Inc.’s Heartfelt History

Founders

A whole lot of heart, dedication, and inspired intention went into the creation of Great Shape! Inc. Read on to learn our family’s history and how we came to value the power of inspired service.

Founded in 1988, Great Shape! Inc. was created by three strong, determined, and dedicated women who shared a passion for service and the greater Caribbean community. Myrtle Franklin, Georgene Crowe, and Gretchen Lee came together to build a non-profit organization that would bring literacy programs, dental care, eye care, and teacher training projects to the communities of Jamaica and St. Lucia. Whether they were nestled in their hometowns or traveling to the Caribbean, the birth of Great Shape! Inc. required each female founder to foster unstoppable dreams and practice unwavering loyalty to serving individuals in need.

Though Franklin, Crowe, and Lee were forever inspired to serve in Jamaica, there was a greater event that sparked their interest to create Great Shape! Inc. As Hurricane Gilbert destroyed most of Jamaica in 1988, the organization’s three female co-founders wanted to rebuild what had been lost and “create family” to heal the suffering of Jamaicans. To kick start their efforts, Franklin, Crowe, and Lee threw a Reggae party in Ashland, Oregon where they obtained ample amounts of resources and supplies that would serve their efforts toward rebuilding the island. With their duffle bags in tow, Great Shape! Inc.’s fearless female founders set off to begin the first of many impactful humanitarian efforts set forth by their organization.

At the wake of Hurricane Gilbert, Franklin, Crowe, and Lee were able to help build schools, community centers, roads, and sponsor students and uniforms in 1988. This was the true beginning of Great Shape! Inc. and its efforts to restore the Caribbean community. In 2003, the program 1000 Smiles was launched by Great Shape! Inc. and became the world’s largest, international, and humanitarian dental project. 2008 then brought SuperKids on the map. Great Shape! Inc. is proud to be home to SuperKids and its efforts to enhance literacy and the building of computer labs in the Caribbean school systems. During the year 2009, Great Shape! Inc. then launched its eye-care program known as iCARE then created its Dental Sealant Project in 2010. Finally, Great Shape! Inc. launched Teach the Teachers in 2011 to bring opportunities for professional development to Jamaican teachers.

Great Shape! Inc. is truly a labor of love created by individuals whose passion to serve is unprecedented. We are more than proud to share our history and the incredible milestones it took to bring forth endless humanitarian efforts to our beloved Jamaica and St. Lucia.

Here’s to many more years of continuing our legacy of love! And to our three founders- thank you for making our love possible! 

A Volunteer Love Letter

Dear GS!I Inc. Volunteers,

From magical moments to times of challenge, we’ve seen the greatest examples of love created by YOU. Each and every one of our volunteers has the innate ability to set their needs aside to serve the betterment of others. It’s the most humbling experience to work beside your generosity and marvel in the inspired impacts you create for Jamaica.

At Great Shape! Inc., we believe in the power our volunteers hold to create family both near and far. Though our organization has found a home in the United States and the Caribbean, we’ve managed to spread love, earn love, and give love no matter where our work has taken us.

But this love is only able to fully arise through the tireless, dedicated, and passionate work of our volunteers. So this is our love letter. To our past, present, and future volunteers, we want to thank you, praise you, and let you know just how valued you are to us.

Every gesture made both small and large by our volunteers is a blessing that certainly makes a difference.

Every lesson learned and story shared along the way has made our family stronger, brighter, wiser, and a little more astute to serve.

Every ounce of love you give…Know it’s always appreciated, honored, and seen as the greatest gift.

We LOVE you! Continue to shine, give, and be a part of our tradition of One Love. We are endlessly thankful for you.  

Many thanks and blessings,

GS!I Inc.

Our Volunteers INSPIRE

Great impacts arise when our volunteers travel to the Caribbean. Every moment of our time spent serving is full of care, intentional guidance, and great love that can be felt from miles away. Each individual that chooses to volunteer with our family changes lives, gains new perspectives, and discovers a new hope for the greater good of our world.

Valorie Tresnor, a previous iCARE volunteer, shared her volunteer experience with us. Her inspired recollection sheds the utmost  light upon the incredible work of our programs and the individuals who make each trip to Jamaica & St. Lucia worthwhile.

“Hundreds of people are waiting in line when we arrive each morning, many of them haven’t been able to see for years,” Valorie says. “We take great care of them with exams and then the magic moment when our doctors prescribe the perfect glasses happens. They cry with joy when they see our faces for the first time.” 

To us, it’s the simple moments like this one that give our work value. Knowing that we are able to inspire the lives of others fuels our purpose, gives us strength, and dedicates our cause to placing the needs of others before our own.

Our family is always looking to expand. Join us to use your talents and help inspire our beloved Caribbean community! Click here to learn more about being a GS!I Inc. volunteer. 

One Love, One Family, One Purpose.

Great Shape! Inc.

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Sandals Foundation Reaches Years of Success!

Great Shape! Inc. is more than proud to partner with the Sandals Foundation! The humanitarian organization is celebrating its milestone of achieving thirteen successful years partnering with GS!I Inc. to improve the health, community, and education of the Caribbean

Much to our happiness, Great Shape! Inc. is honored to be a part of the Sandals Foundation’s ability to create lasting impacts. According to the organization’s website, Sandals Foundation President Adam Stewart attributes much of this success to the incredible partners the foundation has fostered over the years.

“We’ve been really lucky to have achieved so much in such a short period of time, exceeded all of our own expectations, and we couldn’t have done any of it if it wasn’t for our valued partners, donors and guests and of course our team members,” Stewart says.

Though the Sandals Foundation so graciously provides housing and amenities for our volunteers, the organization does much more than that for Great Shape! Inc. The Sandals Foundation endlessly supports our cause, provides consistent care for our team, and wholeheartedly believes in our mission to inspire and improve the communities of Jamaica and St. Lucia.

Without the Sandals Foundation, our work just wouldn’t be possible! It’s an honor to work with you each and every day.

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Volunteer Vocab

 

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Whether you’re volunteering with Great Shape! Inc. or giving back to your local community, inspirational quotes are helpful tools to keep in mind throughout the experience. During emotional moments and opportunities that bring pure amazement, look upon these three phrases for motivation. Write them down, take them with you, and begin to discover the meaning in your volunteer excursion!

  1. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” –Mother Theresa, Roman Catholic nun & missionary

The simplest of gestures can make the greatest impact on the life of another. As a volunteer, always give your best effort to each endeavor! We guarantee you’ll make the world into a more fulfilling place to call home.

  1. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn, American actress

It’s important to remember that your volunteer experience is meant to improve and serve the lives of those who need it most. Even so, it’s equally important to remember to care for yourself throughout the trip. Our ability to care for others expands once we’ve truly learned to love ourselves. Be sure to nurture your own needs and place the energy of your well being into inspiring others!

  1. “You make a living but what you get. You make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill, British statesman

During times of stress, it’s easy to forget our purpose and capacity to serve.Remembering to share your whole heart is the surest way to create the most incredible volunteer experience. Whether you’re serving for a couple of hours or a couple of months, what matters most is your ability to give all you’ve got to the community around you!

One Love, One Family!