Meet Amelia- The newest addition to the Great Shape! Inc. family!

It’s a great day to be an intern! More importantly, it’s an even better day to cultivate your best self; an opportunity to truly shine!

I’m Amelia Wright and I’m a summer 2016 intern for Great Shape! Inc. and Let It Shine Media. As a senior Public Relations major and Promotions minor at Gonzaga University, I’m thrilled to exercise my academic studies for the common good. Working for two organizations that add incredible amounts of sparkle to the U.S. and Jamaica allow me to fulfill a purpose larger than myself.

Creating meaningful connections with those around me ignites my passion to pursue a career in Public Relations. With this in mind, I would love to share a little bit of my story with you!

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, I come from a tight-knit family that raised me to be an individual who consistently values compassion, hard work, and authenticity. I attribute my fervent desire to live each day with a full and grateful heart to my generous mother, driven father, and courageous sister.

Leaving my family to attend Gonzaga University was a large feat yet the greatest decision I’ve ever made! The immense growth and new-found inspiration I’ve obtained over the last three years is entirely due to the astounding university that quickly became my home. As new friends became family, Gonzaga undoubtedly has been the best place to experience four magical years of rigorous study, personal development, and fulfilling relationships.

In addition to crafting a love affair with Public Relations and the art of storytelling, dance is where I find the utmost solace, happiness, and pure joy. As a member and 2016-2017 Team Captain of the Gonzaga Bomb Squad hip-hop dance team, I have been so fortunate to continue my love for performance and find a family of dancers that inspire my life to the utmost degree. When I’m not working as an intern, you’ll most likely find me dancing with my squad on the Kennel floor!

What I find most exciting about life at the moment is joining the Great Shape! Inc. and Let It Shine family! I look forward to learning many valuable lessons, knowledge, and experiences that will aid in my future Public Relations studies and career. Furthermore, I am sincerely thrilled to learn from Lucinda and the many ways in which she helps others meet and achieve their best.

Here’s to the start of a wonderful summer and the many adventures to come!

Remember- the world is always in need of your illuminated spirit.

With love,




Going on a Trip? 8 Tips for Efficient Packing

Whether you’re preparing for one of our projects or traveling to another destination, knowing what to pack and how to pack it is important. You’ve cut the clutter but still can’t fit it in your luggage, what are you doing wrong? Here are a few tips on what to bring for your upcoming trip but also how to make it fit.

1. Make a Checklist

Take a moment to go over everything you’ll need on your trip; shoes, project supplies, passport, the number of shirts you’re taking, bug spray, etc. and physically write it down. This will help you visualize what you need to pack and also be honest with yourself about what can be left at home. Take into consideration the weather of where you’re going to help decide what you’ll need. Cross off items as you gather them.

2. Plan Your Outfits

Go through your clothes and decide ahead of time what you want to wear. Bring versatile items that can be mixed and matched. This will minimize the amount of clothing you take and maximize space for other items. Bring neutrals, learn to layer, and consider bringing accents such as scarves or jewelry to spice up an outfit, they don’t take up much space at all! Lay everything out next to the suitcase beforehand.

3. Buy Travel Size Toiletries

This will not only save you a lot of space but it will also reduce the weight of your luggage. Most toiletries are sold in travel sizes, and if not you can always transfer your favorite shampoo to a smaller container; there is usually no need for the entire bottle. Think mini hair dryer, tiny toothpaste, pint sized sunscreen, etc. Also, make sure to pack toiletries in plastic bags as a precaution for any unwanted leaks.

4. Roll vs. Fold

Roll your clothing and you’ll be amazed at how much space your save. Roll similar items in bundles such as tank tops or shorts. Bulkier items such as jacket are best rolled individually. However, consider folding formal wear to help keep it wrinkle-free.

5. Make Use of All Space

Don’t let any space go to waste. Pack bulky items such as pants and shoes in the corners of your bag, then compile your rolled clothing in the center. Use the smaller spaces in between your shoes to place items such as belts, bathing suits, or socks. Consider even stuffing undergarments in your shoes to maximize space and keep your shoes from compressing down.

6. Wear Heavy, Bulky Items During Travel

Are you taking a big coat? Wear it on the plane. Save space in your luggage by wearing your bulky or thick items during travel. If you don’t want to wear it on the plane, is it necessary to take at all? Probably not.

7. Think Through Your Carry-On

What is absolutely necessary if you were to lose your luggage? Make sure to pack your valuables (cameras, laptops, passport, etc.) in your carry-on just in case your luggage was to get lost or rummaged through. Remember to keep liquids in three ounce containers or smaller to avoid hold ups during security checks. Having a change of clothes in your carry-on is also a good idea for any unexpected emergencies. Keep important documents close to you and easily accessible while traveling.

8. Save Space for Souvenirs

You’ll want to remember your trip with souvenirs for yourself, family members and friends. Make sure to leave space for the items you’ll pick up throughout your trip, that package of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, beach paintings or various trinkets.





Save the Date: Ashland Fundrasier

It’s never too early to plan a party…or a fundraiser! As summer plans start to form and vacation time is requested, we want you to mark your calendars for the annual Ashland Fundraiser that is back and happening this summer!


Great Shape! Inc. Dream Team


When: Saturday July 9th

Where: Historic Ashland Armory in Ashland, Oregon


What: Annual dinner party and auction for Great Shape! Inc. The best jam of the summer and reunion of volunteers, board members, friends and family of Great Shape! Inc.

Why: Why not?! Fun, friends, collaboration, music, good eats, and dancing all in the name of raising funds for the humanitarian projects we know and love!

2014 Ashland Fundrasier

2014 Ashland Fundrasier

You won’t want to miss out on this one and we would love to see you there! Big up to all those working to make this another rockin’ and successful fundraiser! More information to come as we near closer to the date.

See you there!

           See you there!

Registration Opens Tomorrow! Project Recap…


Returning volunteer? First-time volunteer? Seeing what we’re all about? Regardless of why you’re here, we’re glad you are because tomorrow is the day we’ve been waiting for! Registration for all of our projects opens up tomorrow, Thursday March 1st!

With that in mind, here is a quick recap of all four of our humanitarian projects.

1000 Smiles

  • Dental Project that provides free access to dental care and education to families in the Caribbean including in Jamaica and St. Lucia
  • Volunteers provide people with fillings, cleanings, extractions, sealants, dentures and oral health education in temporary dental clinics and schools
  • All types of dentists are welcome and not all volunteers have to be dental professionals
  • Temporary MASH-style clinics are set up using some of the best military-grade mobile equipment
  • Volunteers are divided into 3 to 4 teams consisting of dentists, assistants, hygienists, and other support and are then assigned to different locations in the area



  • Vision Project that cares for more than 1,500 patients a week
  • All patients receive a full eye exam, get fitted for prescription glasses, readers, and/or sunglasses, as needed
  • In some cases our ophthalmologist volunteers provide surgeries for glaucoma or cataracts at nearby hospitals
  • Ophthalmologists, opticians, nurses, front desk staff and anyone interested can be volunteers



  • Literacy Project that provides resources, curriculum, volunteers and training in rural area schools with a literacy rate of about 40%
  • Focus on literacy, computers, art, music and sports for thousands of children in 1st-6th grades to help build a strong foundation of reading
  • Volunteers range from certified teachers and specialists to students, retired individuals or anyone with a love for kids
  • IT team builds computer labs, installs software and trains school staff on basic computer maintenance
  • Volunteers are divided into teams and assigned to different schools in the area


Teach the Teachers

  • Partnership for professional development and computer training with Jamaican educators to collaborate for inspiration, resources and proven techniques
  • Ultimate beneficiaries are the children of Jamaica
  • Volunteers separate into appropriate tracks of education with focus on Computer Education, Language Arts and Behavioral Management
  • Volunteers range from those with computer expertise, to certified teachers, professors, behavior management specialists such as counselors, pre-service teachers, youth program coordinators, etc.
  • Orientation is provided to assure consistency in principles/practices


Did a project stand out to you? Are you hoping to join us this year? We would love to have you volunteer in Jamaica or St. Lucia with us! Learn more about each project including dates and project fees on our website at:

What’s For Dinner? Jamaican Jerk Chicken!

jerk chicken

While volunteers for Great Shape! Inc. do many different things while in Jamaica, help fill cavities, administer vision tests, work with students or teachers, there is one thing they all have in common by the end of their projects. All volunteers will leave Jamaica knowing what jerk chicken is and most will have tried jerk chicken at least once during their trip.

Jerk chicken is a Jamaican favorite and can be found served all over the island including for dinner at Sandals or for lunch at primary schools. Jerk chicken is an important part of the Jamaican cultural experience and also makes for a delicious meal. If you’re scratching your head for dinner ideas for tonight or just want to try something new, put your cooking skills to the test and try this recipe for jerk chicken. It’s the next best thing to having dinner on the island. So, crank up your favorite tunes and get cooking!

Total Time: 25 Hours

Prep: 30 minutes

Marinate: 24 hours

Cook: 30 minutes

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 pounds chicken pieces
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 cups finely chopped scallions
  • 2 Scotch bonnets, seeded and minced (wear gloves)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups Jamaican Barbecue Sauce to serve, recipe follows

Jamaican Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 ¼ cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Jamaican hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Jerk marinade (reserved from associated recipe)
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum

Let’s Get Cooking:

  1. Rinse chicken pieces well in 2 cups of the vinegar, drain, transfer to 2 sealable plastic bags and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor combine remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar, scallions, Scotch bonnets, soy sauce, lime juice, allspice, bay leaves, garlic, salt, sugar, thyme, and cinnamon. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the jerk marinade for the Jamaican Barbecue Sauce
  3. Rinse chicken pieces well under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Divide chicken pieces between 2 heavy-duty gallon plastic sealable bags and divide marinade evenly between the 2. Turn bags over to evenly distribute marinade and refrigerate chicken for 24 hours (the longer the better).
  4. On an oiled grill rack, set about 6 inches above red-hot coals, grill chicken (in batches if necessary) covered for 10-15 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a warm platter and keep warm until serving.
  5. Serve with Jamaican Barbecue Sauce, alongside fried plantains, rice, or bread of choice.

Jamaican Barbecue Sauce:

In a medium non-reactive saucepan combine all ingredients except rum and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook another 12 minutes, until sauce is thick and flavorful and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Cool sauce to room temperature before serving.

Yield: About 2 cups


Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse:

Great Shape! Spotlight: Salli-Jo Walker

Our 1000 Smiles superstar, Salli-Jo Walker, was featured in the Jamaica Gleaner for all the amazing work she does for Great Shape! and 1000 Smiles. Big Up, Salli-Jo! Your heart and your spirit always inspire us! #OneLove

Read the full article here:

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 2.37.32 PM


1000 Smiles: Success in St. Lucia!

After years of planning and dreaming, our Great Shape! team finally fulfilled our vision of delivering free dental care on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. Thanks to our incredible partnership with The Sandals Foundation, Great Shape!’s 1000 Smiles is expanding our reach even farther, caring for more than 500 St. Lucians!

With permission from the St. Lucian Ministry of Health, our volunteers provided free root canals, sealants, cleanings, extractions, fluoride, x-rays, fillings and exams in two separate communities: Marchand and Canaries.

 With great skill and joyful hearts we…

  • Served 507 people: 327 adults and 180 children
  • Provided 1,481 services: 482 exams, 284 fillings, 146 cleanings, 178 extractions, 382 sealants, and 9 root canals.
  • Provided free services at a value of $150,000 USD.
  • Served 75 team members at Sandals Regency La Toc.

The entire project ran smoothly and efficiently thanks to our experienced team of staff, the awesome team at Sandals Resorts, our dedicated volunteers and the bright, joyful attitude of the St. Lucian people.

There are so many joy moments from our trip that make us smile, including a young woman named Melanie who came in with 5 blackened, half-decayed front teeth. Once the incredible Dr. Hansen finished his artistry, Melanie was overwhelmed with joy at the sight of her new, beautiful, smile! These joy moments alone make all the hard work worth it!


We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve in St. Lucia. The people of St. Lucia captured our hearts and ignited our spirits!

As the Caribbean Proverb goes – “Lickle but we tallah.” We’re small but we’re strong!


Great Shape! Having Great Success in Jamaica


Jamaican Teachers Embrace Innovative Techniques

Great Shape! Inc. and the Sandals Foundation Offer Free Professional Development

Teachers from across Jamaica are in customized workshops this week and next week to help them improve literacy and computer skills in their home schools. Great Shape! Inc., in partnership with the Sandals Foundation, is offering these free workshops so that Jamaican teachers can take advantage of collaboration with dozens of international teachers. There are still spaces available! And we would love to further spread the word and invite other teachers to benefit.

Manning’s School in Savanna La Mar is hosting Great Shape! Inc.’s Teach the Teachers initiative from August 3 – 14, 2015. Teach the Teachers first started conducting computer workshops with Jamaican teachers five years ago, this year, Great Shape! added two other focus areas: behavioral management (classroom management) and language arts. The 35 volunteers all specialize in innovative teaching techniques to enhance curriculum in language arts and computers.

This is an award-winning program, praised by the Jamaican Ministry of Education. The project provides resources, volunteers, and training for Jamaican educators. Theclasses include computer instruction and projects from beginning phases through advanced hardware, literacy enrichment techniques, and systems for more positive behavioral and classroom management.

Great Shape! Inc.’s Teach the Teachers volunteers have been based at Green Island High School and Grange Hill in the past, this is the first year to work from Manning’s School. The Sandals Foundation has long served as Great Shape!’s number one partner.

Great Shape! Inc. has been leading humanitarian projects in Jamaica since 1988: dental care (1000 Smiles), literacy projects (SuperKids), and vision care (iCARE). Teach the Teachers launched in Jamaica in 2011.


Best regards,

Jervene Simpson

Public Relations Manager

Sandals Whitehouse European Village and Spa

P.O Box 5000, Whitehouse

Westmoreland | Jamaica | W. I


Great Shape! Inc: Brighter Smiles in St. Lucia

The largest international humanitarian dental project is expanding its reach even farther by traveling to St. Lucia for the first time EVER!

Great Shape! will soon be venturing to St. Lucia, Jamaica with the 1000 smiles program and we couldn’t be more excited! 1000 smiles works with hundreds of volunteers every year to bring free dental care to Caribbean families: volunteers will provide fillings, dentures, extractions, cleanings, sealants, and education. Great Shape! is blessed to have an ongoing partnership with the Sandals Foundation, who will provide all accommodations, food, entertainment, and continued support. Executive Director Joe Wright and the leadership team are already in St. Lucia setting up clinics and our amazing volunteers will join them on the 24th. The trek won’t only enhance dental hygiene and education in St. Lucia; it will also brighten the lives of our volunteers and families. We will be counting down the days until we can see the inspirational smiles of our St. Lucian friends!

Check back to hear more about our exciting adventure!






Wednesday Smiles!