The South Eleuthera Mission (SEM) is a non-profit company incorporated in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on October 28th, 2008. The SEM occupies a historic building, which is a Bahamas Heritage Site, and part of the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation, with construction dating back more than 140 years. The organization’s geographic focus encompasses the settlements of Tarpum Bay, Rock Sound, Green Castle, Wemyss Bight, Waterford, Deep Creek, John Miller’s and Bannerman Town. It was felt that the people of these settlements inhabiting the southern end of the island of Eleuthera, needed a facility which would serve as the catalyst for further educational and community building exploits. Through its programs and resources, the SEM endeavors to promote: sensitivity regarding the rich history and culture of Eleuthera, literacy and academic excellence, computer and vocational skills training, and environmental awareness.
The SEM offers educational programs which are geared towards helping the youth of South Eleuthera. The After School Program operates weekly, Mondays through Thursdays, from 3pm to 5:30pm and is coordinated and supervised by a certified teacher, Mrs Sharon Carey. The program, began in September, 2009, just 4 months after the South Eleuthera Mission opened its doors, accommodates all students from grades 1 through 12. The program currently has 35 members, and on any given day, an average of 25 children visit the SEM to complete homework, course work, projects and reading. The After School Program is structured where, once homework is completed, on Mondays, the students can complete reading comprehensions, on Tuesdays, Math games are played via the internet, on Wednesday, it’s “Read a Book Day” and on Thursday, it’s Game Day, where online educational games or board games are played.
Each Summer, the SEM runs an active Summer Youth Program, where children from all settlements throughout South Eleuthera, ages 4 through 12 participate in a few weeks of fun filled supervised activities. The summer program, coordinated by 2 teachers, focuses on Maths, English Language and Arts and Crafts. This year, the Summer Youth Program will include a day-long field trip, touring the island of Eleuthera, visiting various points of interest and historical sites, educating the children about Eleuthera’s history and culture.
The SEM also focuses on the following programs during the year – Health and Wellness seminars and workshops, which include Diabetic Workshop, Healthy Living Workshops, HIV/AIDS Education and Awareness Programs, which in 2011 touch over 600 persons in Central and South Eleuthera, and Breast Cancer Awareness Seminars. Also, Environmental (Green) seminars, children’s parties and socials, such as our annual Easter Egg Hunt and Christmas Party and development/ empowerment workshops, such as free computer classes for adults and children. Every year the SEM also hosts in March, a Knowledge Bowl Competition, which involves all 5 primary schools in South Eleuthera, for a week of fierce competition for the first place finish. Students are quizzed in subject areas of English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, General Science and Religious Knowledge. during 2011, the SEM spearheaded or accommodated within the community, 14 such events/ programs which were a total success.
The South Eleuthera Mission over the past year, ran a very successful HIV/ AIDS Educational Program, which was funded by the United States Embassy in Nassau. We were proud that our grant application was approved and we were selected to run a HIV/AIDS program in Central and South Eleuthera, which included visits to all 3 high schools, to address the senior school students on the subject of HIV and AIDS. The program was a success, as we have seen positive behaviors being displayed by youth who we reached though our messages on World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2011. There also seems to be a more responsible approach to sexual behavior since our program and we understand that during the past few months, HIV testing has increased in South Eleuthera. We were commanded by the U.S. Embassy in March, 2012, for running a very successful program, sharing information about HIV/AIDS, dispelling many “myths” about the disease and giving Eleutherans the facts, which they will benefit from for a lifetime.
The After School Program of the SEM has seen steady increases in the number of student participants over the past 3 school semesters. The increases are averaging about 33% semester over semester, and we have seen notable improvement in a few students who have been a part of the program since its inception in September, 2009, especially in the way of reading and comprehension skills, which is very rewarding.
The SEM has one full time employee, its Administrator, Samuel Cartwright, who is assisted by Mrs Sharon Carey, Certified Teacher, during the After School Program on school days. During times of running seminars/ workshops, etc, the SEM draws on persons employed in the health, environmental and technical (computer) fields from the local community to play an active roll in making its seminars a real success. These persons provide their services and expertise free of charge as volunteers.
The SEM is an incorporated non profit organization, with a Board of Directors, comprising of 6 directors, including its Chairman. The board members are as follows:
Mr Ronald Horton: Chairman and Director – Acting Superintendent, Dept of Civil Aviation, Member of Kiwanis Club, South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP) and The Ocean Hole Initiative
Mr Peter Maclean – Secretary and Director – Second Home Owner and Volunteer Fireman
Mr Godfrey Deveaux – Director – Senior Packing House Manager, Dept of Agriculture and Marine Resources. Member of Kiwanis Club and Priest Warden, St Luke’s Parish
Mrs Donnalee Miller – Director – Tourism Officer, Ministry of Tourism. President, Mothers Club and Member of Deep Creek Association
Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation Representative – Director
Mrs Shemah Darling – Director – Senior Immigration Officer, President of Kiwanis Club of South Eleuthera