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Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John

by Sisterhood Agenda, Inc.
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
Sisterhood Agenda Hurricane Irma Relief St. John
25 Years of Sisterhood
25 Years of Sisterhood

This is the final report for this project because it has been fully funded. 

During the devastating 2017 storms, hurricanes Irma and Maria, our newly opened SEA: Sisterhood Empowerment Academy on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands was severely damaged. We rebuilt it, stronger than ever, and remain vigilant in our ongoing support of millions of women and girls through partnerships, training, projects, programs, and products.

To mark this occasion, we decided to share our 25-year anniversary within our sisterhood by spotlighting the efforts of other amazing women and girls who have made a difference by standing up, stepping out and lifting us up to make the world a better place. Together, we realize the collective bond and power we impose when eradicating the issues we choose to champion. Therefore, we commemorate our anniversary by celebrating others!

Sisterhood is the foundation for collective empowerment. Our sisterhood is diverse and inclusive because we are all unique. Striving for meaningful connection, we want women and girls to know that they are never alone.

All partners, donors, and constituents are invited to join us for this special event at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 16, 2019 from 1:00pm-5:00pm. Thank you for all that you have done to make this project a great success!  We could not have done it without you.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela D. Coleman, MBA, CNM
Founder & President

Celebrating Sisterhood: 25 Years of Service
Celebrating Sisterhood: 25 Years of Service
View from the SEA balcony
View from the SEA balcony

Sisterhood Agenda's SEA:  Sisterhood Empowerment Academy is located on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.  It serves the U.S. Virgin Islands, residents and visitors from neighboring islands and from the United States mainland. One of the most important aspects of the SEA is its safe health and healing space for women and girls. This space, included interior and exterior eco-friendly areas, is coming back nicely to fulfill its purpose.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE

After Hurricane Irma, Sisterhood Agenda staff and contractors have completed cleaning and salvaging, water removal, debris collection and removal, dumping, and resource coordination. A temporary tarp roof was installed shortly after the hurricane as a protective measure. 

Recover and rebuilding on the small island has been slow due to delays in receipt of building materials, skilled labor shortages, and lack of local resources. After several months, Sisterhood Agenda was able to secure most of the building supplies and materials needed for its rebuilding process.  The roof and ceiling repairs are now complete, along with the installation of exterior walls, most of the doors and windows.

THE WORK RIGHT NOW

While we have made great progress to date, we still have important work to do. Specifically, Sisterhood Agenda will complete the following recovery and repair tasks:

  • Continue to purchase rebuilding materials and ship materials, when necessary
  • Complete installation of patio doors, windows, interior walls, interior doors, cabinets, shelving
  • Complete electrical work:  wiring, installation of exterior and interior lights
  • Complete plumbing: sinks, toilets, cistern expansion
  • Scrape, prime, and paint interior and exterior
  • Complete hurricane mitigation:  preparation to reduce the impacts of future hurricanes, including but not limited to, hurricane resistant patio doors and windows, hurricane shutters, and cistern expansion to prevent flooding
  • Replace building contents:  program supplies, equipment, and furnishings

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can make an important difference in our efforts by donating to our cause. In addition to the physical structure, our extensive library, located in our media center, was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and we look forward to the day where we can build our library back again, book by book. Your monetary donation, books, and book gift cards will be gratefully accepted.

Another tragedy that some may not immediately recognize is our garden. Due to the storm, we lost many native plants, including: bananas, coconut, sugar cane, basil, collard greens, kale, avocado, hibiscus, bromeliad, and bougainvillea. Even our mature ginger thomas tree fell. The good news is that we still have many plants such as papaya, lime, aloe, bamboo, yucca, ferns, mandevilla, and oleander.

St. John is currently experiencing a drought and our fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens were still in a state of recovery before the water shortage. In addition to destroying many plants, the hurricane ruined our fencing and grey water systems. The fencing is necessary to keep the goats, peacocks, and other wildlife away. We will gladly accept donations, volunteer labor, and in-kind donations of plants, fencing, trellis, and landscaping materials to reestablish our gardens, which nourish heart, body, and soul.

STAYING AND PRAYING WITH US

Many of you have been with us since the beginning when we first started building the SEA: Sisterhood Empowerment Academy. We want to acknowledge you and give you special thanks for staying with us for the long haul. You supported us: 1) during the extensive and specialized building process, 2) while winning the Energy Globe Award after the building was completed, and 3) rebuilding now after Hurricane Irma.

I believe in the power of collective prayer and you prayed for us, too. In our times of need, you asked, “How can we help?” Together, we created a system of support so that we were not alone. Your belief in us and unwavering support has meant so much-THANK YOU!

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,

Angela D. Coleman, MBA, CNM
Founder & President

Peacocks keep us company during the recovery
Peacocks keep us company during the recovery
Welcome to the SEA: Sisterhood Empowerment Academy
Welcome to the SEA: Sisterhood Empowerment Academy

Links:

We are so excited as we enter 2019, new and improved and beautiful-even more beautiful than before because we are stronger with greater resilience.  Our building and our spirits are full of hope and joy as we continue our important mission to educate, support, and empower women and girls around the globe with a diverse and inclusive sisterhood.

Our SEA:  Sisterhood Empowerment Academy facility on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a special and important place, part of Sisterhood Agenda's larger vision.  While we had great damage from Hurricane Irma, we are bouncing back with great support from people like you and other agencies.  Working together, we are doing great things.

Throughout 2019, Sisterhood Agenda will celebrate its 25 years of service with several activities, events, and programs.  We anticipate hosting at least one public activity at the SEA for youth, local partners, and agencies. Other activities will be for our program participants with confidential sessions closed to the public.  Our eco suites have been booked through the season. 

We are still receiving funds for this project until it is completed-thank you!  We appreciate your support.  It has taken longer than expected.  However, St. John is a very small island. We are fortunate to be able to receive resources and rebuild successfully.  We are grateful for your gifts and interest in our project.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela D. Coleman
Founder & President

Links:

Sisterhood Agenda's SEA: Sisterhood Empowerment Academy was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma last year.  We are still recovering, knowing that this facility fills an important void by creating a safe space for women and girls where few comparable spaces currently exist. The building is still very beautiful, surrounded by blue ocean waters.

For effective empowerment and resilience, access to necessary resources, including space to gather, is critical.  As a quality service provider, Sisterhood Agenda recognizes the importance of the physical environment in supporting empowerment activities for women and girls.  With the SEA, Sisterhood Agenda created an innovative physical environment to support training, programming, and holistic health goals.

Sisterhood Agenda has a track record of successfully creating “safe spaces” where the girls are free to be themselves and their voices are heard. Before building the SEA, Sisterhood Agenda built a learning center in Durham, North Carolina.  Sisterhood Agenda plans to build facilities in select regions in the U.S. 

Sisterhood Agenda buildings are eco-friendly, female-centered facilities that provided a community base of knowledge, support, self-determination, and healing.  Affirming and welcoming, Sisterhood Agenda facilities are safe, dedicated space for mentoring, tutoring, counseling, health service coordination, and other appropriate services.  

Connecting to nature can promote healing. Sustainable design and nature-inspired architecture are characteristics of Sisterhood Agenda facility spaces to maximize holistic health impacts for women and girls.  Sisterhood Agenda’s SEA:  Sisterhood Empowerment Academy facility in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands was awarded the National Energy Globe Award for sustainable building and design in 2017 before being damaged by the storms.

We look forward to continued success in our mission to educate, support, and empower women and girls around the globe, often in unique and unexpected ways.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela D. Coleman, MBA, CNM 
Founder & President

Upon our most recent visit to the SEA:  Sisterhood Empowerment Academy on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, we are struck by how well our building repairs are going.  In general, things are looking better for everyone on the island. Great news!

Sisterhood Agenda’s recovery process was initially very slow (along with most individuals, agencies, and businesses) due to serious damage to St. John’s communication systems and the fact that the island is small with no manufacturing and few local resources on the island.  All supplies and materials need to be imported and when communications were down, stores were not stocked, and it was difficult to receive both emergency and non-emergency supplies. 

After many months of inactivity and infrastructure repairs all over the island, our Sisterhood Agenda team members are at a place of rebuilding and recovery that demonstrates the resilience of our organization and the original eco-construction process.  Sisterhood Agenda is making it happen through our commitment, perseverance, and with help from people like you.

Thanks to our builder, Vincent Powell, Sisterhood Agenda’s building withstood three major hurricanes (Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Maria), subsequent tropical winds and lots and lots of rain.  While our roof and exterior walls were damaged, they were damaged by the debris from neighboring buildings that crashed into our building.  

The building itself is very strong, creating a remarkable foundation for rebuilding.  The exterior walls have been put back in place, along with most of the roof.  Appropriate building code and storm mitigation procedures have been followed in detail to ensure maximum strength in time for this current hurricane season (currently underway) and subsequent hurricane seasons.   

 Visually, the property is starting to look like it did before the storms.  We give thanks and praises.

With hurricane relief and recovery, most people tend to focus firstly on the people affected, then, the state of the physical buildings and thirdly, the state of local organizations. Often overlooked in the hurricane recovery process, is the health of the organization itself.  Like all health issues, it is holistic:  physical, mental, spiritual. 

Sisterhood Agenda is in the business of helping people, specifically, educating, supporting and empowering women and girls.  Working schedules and behavior, lifestyles, branding, marketing, programming, service delivery, products, outreach, and goal fulfillment have all been disrupted by the hurricanes.  Important legal documents, historical paperwork, awards, program files, supplies, materials, along with furniture and furnishings have also been destroyed. Many of these items were unique, one-of-a-kind artifacts. As a result, Sisterhood Agenda is in need of replacement and/or appropriate substitutions, not simply for tangible goods, but also for more intangible ways of fulfilling our mission. 

Importantly, funding streams have also been disrupted with real revenues lost. How long can a company function when it sits in the dark? After several months of sitting in the dark, how does the agency recover when the lights come back on?  When services begin again, what does it look like?  How can an organization restart business as usual when the business environment is highly unusual?  What happens to the 3-year or 5-year business strategy?  How can we re-create stability?

These are just some of the issues that we are facing now.  With climate change and increased incidences of more extreme weather events, we have to ask serious questions about the direction of the agency and the capacity of the SEA:  Sisterhood Empowerment Academy to fulfill its original purpose in the U.S. Virgin Islands and around the globe. What does it take to make us whole and productive again?

Remaining flexible and adaptable with purpose and re-purpose is key to managing any chaotic business environment.  The massive impact of these natural disasters should not be underestimated.  At Sisterhood Agenda, we are confident that we will position ourselves in a way to provide optimal services to as many women and girls as possible while minimizing risks to maintain organization stability. 

We have asked for your assistance and solicited input from our constituents to assess need and what you want most from Sisterhood Agenda.  We have a long history, almost 25 years serving women and girls.  I am happy to state that we are still here.  Thank you for all that you have done to support us in all times-great, challenging, and all of those wonderful times in-between.

 With Gratitude,

Angela D. Coleman
Founder & President

 

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Organization Information

Sisterhood Agenda, Inc.

Location: St John, VI - Virgin Islands
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SisterAgenda
Project Leader:
Angela D. Coleman
Sisterhood Agenda
St. John, Virgin Islands

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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