Beyond Resort Doors: Sandals Guests Committed to St. Lucia’s Long-Term Development

The Tarr Family Story of Support

[L-R]: Sandals loyal guests and avid donor to St. Lucia’s development, Marylou and Tom Tarr
[L-R]: Sandals loyal guests and avid donor to St. Lucia’s development, Marylou and Tom Tarr
It’s no secret that loyal guests of Sandals Resorts return because of the unmistakable magic of the Caribbean islands. To experience this region, is to love it for all that it is and all it has the potential to be. Top all of this with the second-to-none service shared by team members of the Sandals Resorts on island and sure enough, guests will return.

The Tarr Family has been a prime example of the incredible reach of this industry, inspiring hope and effecting sustainable change on the island. Over the years, continued donations have supported key industries in St. Lucia, improved key school infrastructure for hundreds of children, enhanced healthcare services and facilities in multiple communities, and conserve the island’s environment.

In their recent donation, five schools will receive 524 sets of much needed desks and chairs allowing for uninterrupted attendance of classes by students.

Students of Camille Henry Memorial, Carmen Rene Memorial, Sir Ira Simmons Secondary, Soufriere Comprehensive, and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary Schools have been attending classes on alternate days due to the lack of sufficient furniture. Now, with the support of Sandals Resorts loyal guests, Tom and Marylou Tarr, this reality is set to change.

Tourism has the power to transform communities. Through thousands of direct and indirect jobs, this industry can be the catalyst for change across the region. So what compels guests such as the Tarrs to leave more than footprints in the sand when they visit?

“We have been to other places in the Caribbean, but always come back to St. Lucia, says Marylou Tarr.

“We give to St. Lucia because over the years, as we enjoy the hospitality of the country (and) we have seen the need of the people there. We have made some local friendships there in the vendors on the beach and have become more aware of so much need in the medical, educational, and environmental areas. Recently we have become blessed and feel God wants us to give back.  While we also give to many charities in the United States, St. Lucia holds a special place in our hearts.”

In 2019, the couple supported disaster relief response in The Bahamas, following the passage of Hurricane Dorian as well as provided for community development programmes in St. Lucia.

In 2020, cancer prevention, care and treatment were their areas of focus as their donations provided the Faces of Cancer with a portable ultra-sound machine, disposables, and wheelchairs to enhance free cancer screenings in community health clinics.

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and into 2021, the Tarr family responded to the growing remote learning needs within the island by donating more than 500 digital devices. The resources were distributed to a cross section of students including pupils in eight schools, children with disabilities at the Child Development and Guidance Centre, and youth in the marginalized community of Wilton’s Yard which is part of the Safe Spaces programme of RISE (St. Lucia) Inc.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation expressed gratitude at the commitment of the Tarrs noting, “I’m really touched that the Tarrs have been so moved in their love for St. Lucia and that that love has translated to their commitment to helping the people of this country”.

“The Foundation depends on the support of guests to help effect lasting change,” Clarke continued, “And guests like the Tarrs who go above and beyond to support the sustainable development of the island’s key sectors is testament to the magic that can be created through tourism.”

Chief Education Officer Dr. Fiona Mayer
Chief Education Officer Dr. Fiona Mayer

The continued support of the family also caught the attention of the Ministry of Education, whose Chief Education Officer Dr. Fiona Mayer met with the couple at Sandals Halcyon Beach to express a personal note of gratitude.

“There are so many synergies that can be derived from collaborating between sectors. Tourism and Education are two examples of this kind of mutually beneficial relationship”.

“When people like Mr. and Mrs. Tarr witness deficiencies and wish to make a difference, we cannot turn them away. And particularly at this time when small economies face so many challenges, we welcome donors like the Tarrs. We are truly appreciative of any support that we receive on behalf of our nation’s children. We applaud their philanthropy and wish them well”.

Tourism is known to reignite, amongst travelers, a passion for life. Through the efforts of the Sandals Foundation that galvanizes this passion with love, guests like the Tarrs are making significant investments in the islands, contributing to their sustained development for generations to come.

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