The community benches were a joint project between HIGS and The Bahamas Plastic Movement. Students collected trash from the road sides, beaches and public spaces that would have ended up in the landfill. and designed benches that utilized this trash.
The benches were primarily composed of water bottles held together with other recycled materials.
The school and its partners organized a number of beach cleanups on both Harbour Island and Eleuthera. As both islands are on the edge of the Atlantic, our beaches are prone to trash washing up from gyres (large oceanic currents where garbage can accumulate).
These cleanups are often done in conjunction with other organizations, like Rotaract and The Bahamas Plastic Movement. Through these partnerships, we are able to better the environment whilst enabling our students to become active members in the community.
When the COVID-19 crisis began, it was quickly followed by an unprecedented economic disaster. Household food security became a serious issue for many in the Harbour Island community. Local citizens and organizations, including HIGS, could not ignore this difficulty. HIGS had operated a small food pantry since Hurricane Dorian, and had been making regular food deliveries to the elderly and infirm since its opening in 2019. However, with more the 2000 people on Harbour Island and Eleuthera now facing short-term food shortages, greater action was needed.
HIGS played a leading role in uniting stakeholders across the community and was instrumental in the formation of a coalition that set up the Harbour Island Food Bank. The food bank is powered by Br-Island Responsible Development (BIRD), a local environmental and social advocacy group. BIRD launched a fundraising campaign that attracted more than $500,000 towards feeding local communities. This was the largest volunteer and relief effort in living memory on Harbour Island. The initiative was also multilayered. For example, by purchasing bread from local bakers, the food bank injected much needed financial support into the local economy, while also ensuring that families were fed. HIGS is honoured to have been a part of this island-wide project, and we were so proud to see how many of our parents, teachers, and students showed up to volunteer and donate their time and hard labour alongside many others from the community on each and every delivery day.