(CMR) In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Stay-Focused, an organization that brings young people with disabilities to the Cayman Islands each year to learn to dive, Dart has committed US$20,000 to support their mission.
The donation supports Team Stay-Focused, a group of five runners who work in the Cayman Islands hospitality industry and are racing in the world-renowned TCS New York City Marathon on 5 November 2023 while raising money in support of Stay-Focused.
Founded in 2003 by Roger Muller and run by athlete and Paralympian Ryan Chalmers, Stay-Focused is a leadership development organization that offers teens with disabilities an unparalleled opportunity to learn to scuba dive – experiencing the freedom that scuba diving offers, gaining confidence in themselves and forming lifelong friendships through the process. Participants are typically 13 to 17 years old and actively involved in water sports and other athletic programs.
Stay-Focused is an official charity partner of the NYC Marathon. Lyndon Waite Jr. from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; Luis Guillen and Rey Quinto III from The Grand Cayman Marriott Resort; and Richard Clarke and Matthew Forbes from The Westin Grand Cayman are representing the Cayman Islands at the event. They will race through the five boroughs of New York City while raising money to support Stay-Focused programs.
They all have dreamed of participating in a distinguished marathon and are excited about the challenge. They are also pleased to be supporting an organization they’ve gotten to know year after year as their respective employers provide significant annual support through accommodation, meals, and more.
“I am honored to be a member of team Stay-Focused, and I am so excited to not only run a marathon in support of such a great cause, but for my first ever marathon to be the iconic New York City race. Helping these kids see the beauty of the ocean in a different perspective that many didn’t think was possible is giving me such a sense of purpose as I train,” said Quito.
In addition to international program participants, each summer Stay-Focused also selects Caymanian interns to assist the organization and complete the same PADI Scuba Diver course as the visitors. The 2023 interns are John Gray High School students Carol-Ann Campbell and Tareek Ricketts, along with Jason Ricketts, who returned to the internship program for a second consecutive year and now manages it.
The interns stay with the divers, forming bonds and witnessing what it’s like to live with a disability. They become ambassadors for travelers and athletes, sharing their experiences with their peers and helping to build awareness for all persons with disabilities.
“Dart has been a long-time supporter of Stay-Focused, and we congratulate them on their 20th anniversary. They have introduced 153 young people to the beauty of Cayman’s people above the water and the wonders of free-floating and exploring the world below it,” said Dart Asset and Community Portfolio Manager Dominic Ross.
“Each year, it’s been rewarding to see the community and especially the hospitality industry come together in support of the program. We hope everyone can help Lyndon, Luis, Rey, Richard, and Matthew reach their fundraising goals as they represent our islands and cheer them on as they cross the finish line in honor of Stay-Focused,” Ross added.
Stay-Focused's success has been made possible through generous support from corporations and the community. This year, each runner has as a fundraising goal of US$7,500, which they are raising through individual initiatives such as car washes as well as donations from colleagues, businesses, friends, and family. The community is invited to visit bit.ly/teamstayfocused to donate to the 2023 team or contact [email protected] for information on other ways to help.