The Caterpillar Project Amid COVID-19

by Ileri Inc. dba Project Promise
Play Video
The Caterpillar Project Amid COVID-19
The Caterpillar Project Amid COVID-19
The Caterpillar Project Amid COVID-19

Dear Supporter,

As you know, The Caterpillar Project is a long-term program designed to make a significant difference in the lives of at-risk youth in St. Croix. The Project’s initial pilot group of selected fifth-grade students meet with staffers after school on a daily basis through high school and into college.
This free 8-year holistic program includes activities in Life Coaching, Mentoring, Career Exploration, Creative Expression, Community Service, Personal Health & Wellness, Cultural Awareness, Family Support Services & Academic Intervention.

Next month, we will begin screening and working with newly recriuted students for our Caterpillar Project. The final selection process will take place in January 2022. Stay tuned for details.

Best Regards, 

Resa O'Reilly


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

During the last half of the 2020-2021 School Year, we continued to impact our Caterpillars using our holistic approach, one major focus was Mental Health. We hosted a series of Coping with COVID-19 workshops for the Caterpillars and other high school students on island. In January, we also partnered with the Biden Inaugural Committee to host one such workshop as our virtual MLK Day of Service activity.

We are currently preparing for this summer’s Caterpillar Camp! We have new students that will be participating in our summer camp this year and our Caterpillars will be Camp Counselors. Our 5-week ‘Lessons in Leadership’ Camp starts on June 28th and will take various approaches in teaching leadership.

Thank you for supporting our Caterpillar Project Amid COVID-19! We appreciate it!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

As I look back on 2020, all I can say is, “what a year!”

One of the many goals of our flagship Caterpillar Project is to help our participants develop the problem-solving skills, flexibility and resilience that will serve them well throughout life. The COVID-19 pandemic gave us all an unexpected opportunity to put these skills and traits to use!

The year started off on a few high notes

In January we had a Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Working with four partners we rehabilitated the playground at Altona Lagoon, including repairing the pavilion roof that was damaged by Hurricane Maria.

At our annual Havana Nights event on February 8th, over 350 people dined on authentic Cuban food, soaked up the irresistible Cuban ambiance and danced the night away to pulsating Cuban music.

While on my own birthday celebration trip to Cuba, I was thrilled to be able to take books and school supplies to 270 Cuban school children. The generosity of Project Promise’s staff, who each contributed to the cause, made this possible.

Our last in-person activity in 2020 was another service project: sprucing up Asa’s Garden at the Juan F. Luis Hospital. We pulled weeds, trimmed, and replanted the areas that needed some love.

When the coronavirus hit, we simply pivoted

Once the “stay-at-home” order began and schools shifted to distance learning and so did we. Schools were shut down on a Wednesday and by Friday our Caterpillar Project was “back in business” online. Since then, we have delivered every aspect of our program remotely, we even took virtual field trips. Life coaching, homework assistance, creative expression, service projects and more are all taking place. In some cases, we’ve simply had to get that much more creative to make it happen.

In April, for example, our service project involved letter writing. The Caterpillars wrote letters of hope and encouragement for the residents of a Chicago senior housing facility that they visited in the summer of 2019 during our Summer of Service Trip.

During the summer we focused on job readiness

The focus of this year’s six-week Caterpillar Camp was on giving our teens the tools and skills they’ll need to be ready to join the workforce. Topics included interviewing, teamwork, customer service, problem solving in the workplace and more.

In October the students completed Heart to Heart International’s Youth Ambassador program. They are currently implementing the social media-based COVID-19 community education outreach plan that they created as part of this program. In December our 5th annual Toys for Tanzania Project went virtual, too. Instead of heading to K-Mart to purchase toys for the children at an orphanage in Tanzania, we purchased the gifts through the Tanzanian Children’s Fund’s online holiday gift shop.

We remain positive and upbeat

When unexpected challenges hit, our philosophy is to figure it out, push through and adjust as needed. We made a commitment to these at-risk youth and we are going to seeing it through. Whether it’s Hurricane Maria, a global pandemic or a difficult situation that a child is facing at home, we will be there for them.

Moving into 2021 we are looking forward to relaunching our Salt River Bay Program with virtual (instead of in-person) tours. This program aims to give every fourth-grade student on Island an opportunity to visit and learn about the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. Apart from the shift in the tour portion of the program, the lessons will be presented in the same three-part, ranger-led format as before.

Plus, of course, we are excited about our plans for a virtual Havana Nights on February 13th. Stay tuned for more information on this unique and interactive event.

Thank you for your past and continued support! In times like this, we’re reminded of how interconnected we all are. Thank you for being part of our community. Without you, none of it is possible. 

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

This year’s Caterpillar Camp was a rousing success! Our theme this summer was Job Readiness. The six-week virtual summer program focused on giving participants the tools and skills they will need to be ready to get a job. Topics included Interviewing Effectively, Developing Work Ethics, Practicing Teamwork, Providing Customer Service, Problem Solving in the Workplace, and Budgeting & Financial Literacy. As part of this program, our students also interviewed professionals in their fields of interest, this was a real eye-opening opportunity for the Caterpillars. Those who completed the Job Readiness program will be placed in local internships once in-person activities are safe. In addition to implementing the above-mentioned activities, we were also able to address some food insecurities through our lunch and snack distributions.
THANK YOU for your continuing support! Without you, this summer programming would not have been possible.The Caterpillar Project resumed on September 21st for the Fall semester.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Ileri Inc. dba Project Promise

Location: Christiansted, VI - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Project_Promise
Project Leader:
Resa O'Reilly
Christiansted , VI United States

Funded Project!

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

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Ileri Inc. dba Project Promise that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.