With an eight-year old at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shama Bobb-Duberry knows the importance of stimulating the minds of children who are stuck with little to do during these trying times.
To help combat the boredom and give something back to the community, Bobb-Duberry, owner of Shama’s Specialties on Back Street in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, has been offering cupcake and milkshake Shake & Bake classes for children three to 15.
With a rather large dining area, Shama’s Specialties can safely accommodate 20 kids at a time. The restaurant is fully sanitized, masks are required, their temperature is checked as they arrive and each child has their own table.
Sunday’s classes had 46 kids signed up in three age brackets, children five and six, seven to 11 and 12 to 15.
August 9 is the last class and classes cost $35 plus a $5 non-refundable fee.
The first go around was excellent,” she said. “These kids were so excited. And it’s not just for girls. The boys were having fun, too.”
Because of the enthusiastic response, Bobb-Duberry plans to expand the program with different activity boxes each month, featuring a fun activity for an in-person class or a virtual class for those parents who want to keep their kids at home.
“Each comes with all the materials necessary to complete the craft. You just have to provide the excited little helpers to put it all together,” she said.
The first activity box will include a pumpkin carving kit, complete with carving supplies, instructions, candles, stencils, disposable aprons and gloves.
Boxes will be sold for $50 and can be shipped. Those on St. Thomas will also receive a pumpkin to carve.
In November, the activity will be cookies for Thanksgiving. In December, they will be making edible wreaths for Christmas.
“Besides the live class, I plan to put it on Zoom, so if a child is not there in person, they can also see a whole class of kids their own age doing the same thing. I just think it’s a real creative idea and a way to give back to the community, give back my time. It’s a time for the kids to just be creative, be free. Our kids are number one and they need an outlet. There’s too much TV. It’s time for them to put their hands in.”
Children who attended a cupcake class will automatically have first privilege for an October activity box. Bobb-Duberry will be also be giving the Nana Baby Home free boxes for their residents. In all, she hopes to create 100 boxes.
In September, a class for adults will be held with a mixologist to learn how to mix different shots and drinks.
“The adults are going to need that stress reliever, getting ready to put their kids back in school with whatever rules and conditions there are,” she said.
More information can be found on their Facebook page, but parents must come to the restaurant to register.