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(PRESS RELEASE) — The Sandals guest is no ordinary guest, and Neil and Sheila Stephen are two shining examples of guests who go above and beyond the call of duty.
These are repeat guests to Saint Lucia, who consider Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Spa & Beach Resort to be their home now.
“In the very early days,” says Neil, “we stayed at Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort and Spa, and then we discovered Sandals Grande. We love it here.”
These guests define their vacation, not according to what the weather is like, or how many restaurants there are to choose from, but rather, by how many children they can visit during their vacation, which they normally book from mid-December to early January, annually.
In Shelia’s words, “we look forward to coming home at this time, because we really like spending the festive season here. We like all of the activities that we can participate in at the Grande. We just love it.”
What is most appealing about the Stephens is their warmth and spirit of giving. For them, it would not be the same if they could not go into schools, bringing knowledge about dental hygiene to children. In 2019, they impacted over 400 children in a number of schools, from the Forestierre Combined and the Gros Islet Infant Schools in the north, to the Anse La Raye Combined School on the west coast. Within Castries they also visited the Marchand Combined, and the Morne Dudon Combined Schools.
In the past they have visited the Desruisseaux Combined, Ave Maria Infant and Primary Schools, Babonneau Primary, as well as the Camille Henry Memorial School. The Clendon Mason Memorial Secondary School, Gordon and Walcott Memorial, Balata Combined and Boguis Combined Schools among many others like the Micoud Infant, Vide Bouteille and Dennery Infant, have also benefited from the generosity of Neil and Sheila.
While on vacation, Neil and Sheila spend a lot of their time strategizing on how best to approach their school visits, and which schools they would like to visit.
Prior to their visits, they network with companies like Colgate, Curoprox, Dental Directory and Tepe, sourcing dental packs which they travel with and give away to students here.
This year, they were particularly surprised by a visit from long-time friend and one-time Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Percival MacDonald. Knowing that the Stephens were at the Morne Dudon School, and being aware of the work that they do, now retired, Mr. MacDonald paid them a surprise visit while they were addressing students.
They intend to come home again next year.