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Project Promise Moves Into Its New Home

Ribbon cutting ceremony for completion of Project Promise. (Project Promise photo)

Nine years ago, Project Promise Executive Director and Founder Resa O’Reilly had a vision that began with a dilapidated building she saw in downtown Christiansted — a building that had sat empty for 30 years — which caused her to have a vision to help increase community programs in the Virgin Islands.

With this vision in mind, O’Reilly launched Project Promise, operating out of borrowed space, and built an organization that now runs four ongoing programs for area youth and completes numerous community service projects each year. The organization’s fifth program, Empowered Me, is scheduled to begin next month.

A dilapidated building that sat empty for 30 years. (Project Promise photo)

Just 21 months ago, O’Reilly received a call that she’ll never forget. It was an offer to provide the funding and volunteer labor necessary to start rehabilitating that uninhabitable building. However, there was a catch. Project Promise had just five weeks to raise $50,000 and get the roof replaced so that the building would be safe for the volunteers to be in. The community response to the fundraising campaign was so strong that they were able to replace the roof and cover the electrical and other work that the building would require.

“One day,” she thought to herself, “this building is going to be a thriving community center and the home for an organization that will truly make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth here in the Virgin Islands,” O’Reilly said.

An uninhabitable building needs a new roof to receive funding and volunteer help. (Project Promise photo)

The ”raise the roof” fundraising campaign turned out to be the first of three building rehab fundraisers. The second phase of the fundraising campaign paid for the building’s exterior, while phase three enabled the completion of the building’s interior. All in all, over $300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations were made to complete the building’s rehabilitation. Project Promise then held a unique virtual “housewarming shower” that provided all the items necessary to turn the house into a home, from furniture to dishes and school supplies.

“We did it!” O’Reilly exclaims. “This was a true community effort! We got it done with the help of a lot of people, businesses and organizations who saw the value in what we’re doing and wanted to be a part of bringing this vision to fruition. A special thank you to the Chris ‘LOOPS’ Seikaly Foundation, MCN Build, The Home Depot Foundation, Humanitarian Experience for Youth and Haugland VI for each donating $25,000 or more towards our building rehab project.”

Doors will open to Project Promise on Jan. 17. (Project Promise photo)

Needless to say, the students who are participating in Project Promise’s flagship Caterpillar Program, which provides youth with eight years of intensive after-school programming, are absolutely thrilled with the space.

“I don’t want to leave here,” one of them shared. “I just love it!”

Portable water has been installed, so Project Promise can now move into its new home. Project Promise will open its doors to participants and the public on January 17.

ABOUT PROJECT PROMISE

Project Promise is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk youth on St. Croix by providing empowerment initiatives, cultural programs and family services. To learn more about Project Promise, please visit the website at www.projectpromisevi.com.

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