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12-year-old donates birthday cash to Jamaican students

Charity has no age limit. That was clearly manifested when Simon Fazio, a 12-year old American boy decided to donate his time and money to students in Jamaica. This is a heart-warming story, that should inspire a spirit of giving in all of us. From the Jamaica Observer newspaper

Beaches Negril guests, Simon Fazio (second right) and his mom Ann Lapalice (right), took a couple hours from rest and relaxation to read with students at West End Infant School when they visited Jamaica recently.

Twelve-year-old Simon Fazio, who has visited Jamaica and Beaches Negril Resort multiple times with his family, last month decided to do more than just enjoy the island vibe.

“Last year when we were here, I was walking through the lobby and picked up a magazine that was talking about how hard it was for some children here [in Jamaica] to go to school. I was really moved by that,” Simon is quoted as saying in a recent release.

“So when my family asked me what I wanted for my birthday and for Christmas, I thought it would've been good to ask them for contribution towards the kids of Jamaica,” he said.

The release said Simon was relentless in his philanthropic efforts.

He rallied family members and friends and raised CAD$5,000, all of which he has since donated to the Sandals Foundation's Care for Kids Scholarship Initiative.

“This is indeed a kind and selfless act by such a young man and it must be acknowledged, and applauded,” Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke said. “I want to thank young Simon for this donation that will go towards fulfilling the foundation's promise towards education in Jamaica.”

Clarke explained that the Care for Kids Scholarship programme is geared towards improving the educational experience and overall livelihood of children. The programme provides a minimum of US$400 each year for up to five years to students. This helps to cover expenses such as annual medical, tuition, books and uniform costs. In some cases, students are further assisted with transportation and lunch on a daily basis.

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“It is donations like this from our guests and travel partners that allow us to positively impact the lives of so many children and we are sure that the children who will benefit from Simon's donation will make the best use of the opportunity,” Clarke said.

According to the release, more than 50 students have benefited from the programme since the foundation assumed responsibility for the initiative in 2009.

Simon's mother, Ann Lapalice, is not surprised by her son's charitable exploit as she said kindness was a trait detected in him since he was much younger.

“Simon has always been caring and giving. He is one who is always thinking of other people. When he mentioned what he wanted to do, I felt a great sense of pride as a parent. I had no idea that it would've grown like this. Because of Simon, we are already thinking about other ways we can help people,” she shared.

The young philanthropist is happy he was able to donate to someone else's education, especially because he understands the value of it.

“Education is the centre of life. It is how you get a job and it is how you make money. So if you do not have an education, it sets you back,” Simon said.

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