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How We Got Started

What’s in a name? Initially a joint family effort, Carleva Bay was born of a need to accommodate our students groups in Jamaica. Nelson and Novella—partners in life and service—purchased the former vacation home of a surfer. They decided to name the house after their mothers, an amalgamation of their given names, Carla and Eva.

The first edutourism groups we hosted came from West Chester University and Temple University. In our first visit we retrofitted several basic schools in Jamaica with computers donated from classrooms at West Chester. These basic schools are mandatory preparatory schooling for young children, aged 3 to 5. We travelled to each primary school in St. Thomas, setting up at least one computer per school, gradually developing relationships with the students and the teachers. Eventually, the teachers asked us to come back, to provide computer training sessions! We offered additional computer literacy training to the schools, our volunteers began offering computer repair workshops at Yallahs High School, they were reaching out to volunteer in the classrooms and work with the children themselves, etc.

It became clear to us that we didn’t want our influence on the community to be a one-off, that we wanted to continue to support the greater St. Thomas community, and share the beautiful culture and people of Jamaica with the rest of the world.

Over the years our volunteers have worked everywhere from the local schools, to hospitals, to not-for-profits. We have planted trees for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and offered one-on-one and group support to the teen mothers at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation. At the primary schools, volunteers help teachers in the classroom as well as working outside, tending to the gardens and planting trees. Our volunteers are captivated by the children’s eagerness to befriend them, and many return home with a few words of Patwa picked up from the children. We have built so many wonderful relationships in the community that we now want to offer the opportunity to do this kind of work to others! Do you have a group of students or voluntourists who would relish a meaningful experience being of service and giving back while also enjoying all the beauty that Jamaica has to offer? Contact us!

Our first round installing computers throughout St. Thomas’s basic schools

Offering computer training workshops to educators

Volunteers connecting with the children at the basic schools

Lunchtime at the basic schools. Yum!

Working with the young women at the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation

Working on a soil erosion project for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority

Friends, family and volunteers coming together at Carleva Bay! Welcome, everyone!

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