youth recognition


Project Promise founder Resa O’Reilly, left and far right, presents St. Croix High School students Omari Velasquez, Caliyah Helliger and Azani Claxton with Youth Recognition awards for their outstanding accomplishments.

Hundreds of people logged in to support Project Promise’s fifth annual Havana Nights fundraiser in support of its Caterpillar Project program on Saturday evening. The benefit was coupled with the organization’s annual Youth Recognition event.

This year’s Havana Nights was a virtual experience, with the theme of “The Beautiful Beaches of Cuba.” Attendees who purchased individual tickets enjoyed a 15-minute salsa lesson and performances from El Güiro de la Habana y Combinación Perfecta direct from Cuba. Everyone who purchased a ticket to the Havana Nights virtual affair once again had the opportunity to win a trip for two to Havana, Cuba and a five night stay at an all-inclusive beach resort. This year’s winner was Dr. G. Rita Dudley-Grant.

Along with the fundraiser, Project Promise showcased three high school students and spotlighted their accomplishments over the last school year. Recipients were St. Croix Educational Complex senior Caliyah Helliger, St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center senior Omarai Velasquez, and St. Croix Central High School senior Azani Claxton. They were selected by school officials based on criteria provided to them by Project Promise. Each student received a $500 scholarship, an award certificate and custom-made handcrafted plaque for their accomplishments, as well as gifts donated by Crucian Gold and Bougainvillea Perfumeria.

The proceeds from Havana Nights benefited Project Promise’s Caterpillar Project, along with its three other programs. The Caterpillar Project is a long-term program designed to make a significant difference in the lives of at-risk youth on St. Croix.