Community collaboration helps family at risk

The situation was desperate: Three generations — including five young children and one teenager —were living together in a home that was dangerously unsound.

“The floor was on the verge of collapsing into the cistern below,” said ARK Founder Tara Nielsen. “When we visited the house, we knew we had to help.”

Known locally as ARK, Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness facilitates a home improvement programme called "CASA" that brings financial and in-kind donors and volunteers together to make short work of what are sometimes major construction projects. For ARK Founder Tara Nielsen, this latest project exemplifies the power of cross-sector collaboration in service of the community.

While the family was moved into temporary housing, Dart came on board with financial support, donations of building materials and furniture.

“This particular home, which was structurally unsafe, leaving five children’s lives at risk, was brought to our attention by the East End Community Foundation," Nielsen said. "The partnership between Dart, the East End Community Foundation and ARK is a perfect example of how a community can pull its resources together to transform lives with immediate impact."

Dart Community Development Manager Dominic Ross said the company’s commitment to Cayman’s community builds on more than 20 years of investment in the country.

“Through sponsorships, donations and our Dart Grants programme – which ARK was a recipient of in 2019 – Dart aims to support non-profit endeavours that address important, unmet needs of our community, enrich lives and enhance our shared environment,” he said. “Having a safe place to live is something many of us probably take for granted and yet it is, quite literally, the foundation for a stable life. Dart is proud to help ARK and the East End Community Foundation ensure this family has a home they can feel secure in.”

Neilsen says Dart is a welcome partner in the organisation’s efforts to help upgrade unsafe housing around the country.

“We are thrilled that Dart has once again chosen to support ARK’s CASA programme with the invaluable contribution of funding, skilled volunteers and building supplies,” Nielsen said.

Photo caption: The home's floor was starting to collapse into an old cistern.

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This article appears in print in the February 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Hannah Reid.

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