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Ace Embrace, tourists perform community work

This year, on the agenda of the unfolding Ace Convention, some community work. The visitors, all Aruba Certified Experts, participated in a conference organized by the Aruba Tourism Authority. Sunday, midday, about two dozen of them donned work clothes and headed out for Cas Pa Huventud, where the Ace Embrace program reached out to paint and fix the building. The initiative was that of tireless Colleen LeSard. She is the program coordinator in the US. On one of her previous visits, Colleen contacted Cas Pa Huventud director Rosanna van Dijk and solicited all the names of the kids living in the home. Gifts were then purchased for them by the agents, and imported to Aruba.

As instructed, on Sinterklaas day, the kids hung their stockings out, and in the morning, surprise, gifts from anonymous benefactors magically appeared. Larger gifts were also placed under the home’s tree to be opened Christmas day. Colleen reports all agents responded generously to the idea and contributed wholeheartedly, shopping, and painting. The much needed face-lift was a wonderful gesture on behalf of the guests giving back to the island community. Francis Jacob and the helpful executives of the Aruba Tourism Authority served as liaisons, mobilization brushes, ladders and paint buckets.

They report that a number of engineers from La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort also volunteered to work Sunday, shoulder to shoulder with the visitors, to give Cas Pa Huventud, a bright, freshly-painted look. As the DePalm Tours bus delivered paiting volunteers to the home, it loaded the kids for an outing on de Palm Island, courtesy of de Palm Tours. On the bus, the kids met their adoptive-family-members, Ace volunteers, their escorts for the day. When they came back at the end of a fun-in-the-sun day, their new exercise room was almost finished with new equipment bought by Ace volunteers' donations. We receive good help from the hotels, prepping the building for the paint job, says Colleen. We could have finished the job all by today, only with the island's current interuptions last week, the schedule got pushed back a bit. Anyway, she concludes, we'll be ready for Christmas, and that's what counts.

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