The School of Giving: Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami

On August 16, parents and children gathered under the pastel-colored mushroom-shaped canopies of Virrick Park in Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest continuous community. The modest park spreads out over a full city block, with a basketball court tucked away to the side so local kids can work on their lay up and their teamwork. But on that day, it wasn’t the game that was drawing the crowds. It was the Back to School and Health Fair Event, supported in part by the Sonesta Coconut Grove.

The first day of school was right around the corner, and these under-served families needed help providing their kids with school supplies. So Curtis Crider, Sonesta’s General Manager, rallied the employees of the hotel to pitch in. And pitch in they did—from housekeepers to receptionists, from managers to executives—donating notebooks, pens, pencils, magic markers, scissors, folders and all manner of tools to help the children succeed in class. The Back to School Drive helped Sonesta deliver box after box of supplies to Virrick Park, and helped some happy kids and parents walk away with full knapsacks.

But there was another reason for gratitude that day, because this wasn’t only a Back to School Drive. Healthcare providers were on hand to share information about preventative care and health services.

Other contributors to the event included the University of Miami’s School of Nursing & Health Studies, Feeding South Florida, Door to the Arts, Teen Court, the Collaborative Development Corporation, the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative and the Coconut Grove N.E.T, or Neighborhood Enhancement Team. All shared their ideas and expertise about advocacy, education and raising awareness about safety, security, health issues and keeping Coconut Grove a viable and vital neighborhood.

“It was a pleasure to be part of such a giving and caring event,” says Mr. Crider. “This was a terrific way to show Sonesta’s support for the Coconut Grove community. The entire staff of the hotel should be proud that kids are going back to school well-equipped, in no small part because of their contributions.”

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