Good Morning! And a beautiful Tuesday to you all! This evening is an absolutely great time to dust off the recipes for those Caribbean Cocktails we have been practicing and tune in for some sounds of St. John to benefit the Island Health and Wellness Center….Party with a purpose, if you will 🙂
Since the early months of the pandemic, IslandGirlMusic- Erin Hart has been playing semi-regular sunset streams from her Facebook page, in lieu of her regular gigs on St. John being cancelled for a spell. In March of 2020, live music was the first thing to receive heavy restrictions on St. John due to the new emergence of COVID-19 in the territory. This left many musicians on island scrambling in wonder at where their next paycheck would come from. And, in the spirit of island ingenuity, when her regular Cruz Bay Landing Fridays were canceled and the horizon for playing in public again was dim, Erin began hosting regular Friday night live streams from her home on St. John. With the sunset over Cruz Bay as a backdrop and a virtual tip jar ready for generosity so she could make ends meet, she once again had a place to perform in hopes that the sites and sounds would bring a little joy, and a lot of hope, into the living rooms of her fans, far and wide.
Prior to the pandemic, in May of 2019, Erin, who has been building her musical repertoire on St. John for more than ten years, hosted a Wellness on the Water benefit with the proceeds going to Island Health and Wellness. A floating party in Christmas Cove featuring the music of Wheeland Brothers and IslandGirlMusic-Erin Hart aboard Beach Charters VI’s Second Chance yielded more than $40,000!!!
Determined to beat that number the following year, Erin dug into planning for the second annual event almost immediately. But, in March of 2020, she quickly realized that the hopes of hosting anything in the months to come were faint.
So after struggling with the decision, she canceled the upcoming fundraiser and, like the rest of us, settled into the pandemic and started developing creative ways to raise funds, both for her own well being and for that of her favorite St. John non-profit.
While COVID was setting in, Sandy Colasacco, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, and her small team at Island Health and Wellness were readying themselves for action. They were the first to administer vaccinations on St. John last winter and have been ready on the sidelines with COVID tests and informative resources in regards to the virus. Through all of this madness, this non-profit has continued to support the community in the time of an emergent medical emergency. And they continued to provide affordable health care to island residents, seeing patients virtually and by appointment only, throughout the troubled times.
“Island Health and Wellness makes quality healthcare affordable and accessible (for both residents and visitors),” Erin told me. “I used to watch people wait until there was a serious concern before seeking medical attention. Now the community can feel comfortable seeking immediate assistance, and more importantly it makes preventative care a real option.”
Now, this is HUGE for the Love City Community! It is impossible to get personal health insurance coverage in the USVI. Unless an individual is still covered on a plan under their stateside residency or are lucky enough to be employed by one of the very few island businesses that provides it, individualized health insurance is non-existent on island. This results in, exactly as Erin put it, residents and locals putting off their preventative care concerns until, god forbid, a bigger problem arises that becomes a threat to their health and intensive financial burden.
“Additionally, when tough times hit, as they have for so many between the hurricanes and the pandemic shutdown, Island Health doesn’t turn anyone away for inability to pay,” said Erin.
Island Health and Wellness provides physical and mental health support to the St. John community. They fill a desperate void, providing affordable exams, an avenue for prescriptions and, sometimes, just a place to go and a shoulder to cry on in regards to health concerns. I write a lot about non-profits on St. John…And we all know how important it is to preserve and protect the environment, the animals and the land here. But, THIS particular non-profit actually provides an essential, day-to-day service, dedicated to the health and well being of the residents here on St. John who, previously, had no place to go for affordable health care services.
This time of year, for many residents, is a time for escaping our island paradise for a bit and catching up with family and friends stateside or scratching that travel itch 🙂 So, this evening, Erin Hart will be performing her live stream from her parents’ home in Virginia. And she will be donating 100% of her tips to the Island Health and Wellness Center on St. John. Additionally, in the true spirit of Love City, New Moon Charters will be matching whatever is raised during her concert this evening.
So, tune in tonight at 7PM EST on IslandGirlMusic-Erin Hart’s Facebook Page for some sounds and stories of St. John in support of an organization that has been, since its inception, an absolutely essential service in our community.
Can’t make it tonight? That’s okay! Erin has been doing these streaming benefit shows monthly. This is the third installation in the series. So, follow along on Facebook to tune in next month!