With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting so many throughout the world, Tamika Gilbert, BSc ’11, is doing her part to help aid the lives of those hit hardest in the Grenadian community—and being internationally recognized for her efforts.
In April 2020, driven by her two passions—voluntary service and entrepreneurship—Ms. Gilbert created The Art of Giving (TAG), a charitable foundation encouraging donations of relief items to help vulnerable families following the coronavirus outbreak. Her humanitarianism did not go unnoticed—Ms. Gilbert recently received recognition by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the 183rd Commonwealth Points of Light awardee.
“I am both grateful and humbled to receive recognition for something that comes so naturally to me,” said Ms. Gilbert, who is the president of St. George’s University’s School of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association (SASAA). “What started as a simple response to a mother’s cry for help during the lockdown period, has now grown into the TAG foundation—giving help wherever and whenever it can, which to me is the true essence of The Art of Giving.”
The Commonwealth Points of Light awards were established during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018. The award recognizes inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.
“I have always wanted to make a difference in the world,” shared Ms. Gilbert. “I remember visiting the Kennedy and Richmond Hill children’s homes as a child. The extreme need that existed in these places has remained etched in my heart and mind since that day. I knew then that I wanted to do more to help people—the current health crisis presented an opportunity for me to do so.”
So far, over 200 families in Grenada have been supported by the foundation. In addition, the foundation has distributed emergency supplies to people affected by the recent volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
TAG’s newest initiatives will include helping future students enroll at the New Life Organization (NEWLO) in Palmiste, Grenada to pursue technical and vocational education and training, as well as supporting women on the island, who lack access to proper feminine hygiene products, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic.
“TAG on its own cannot help everyone—but everyone can help someone,” stated Ms. Gilbert. “As such, the foundation has adopted a targeted approach to giving aid—we don’t do mass distribution. We speak to recipients individually to ascertain their exact need. We have helped with food hampers for individuals and families, assisted with minor medical bills such as, purchasing medication and glasses, and we’ve held clothing drives. We are willing to do whatever we can to help improve the lives of people in need. In essence, TAG’s message is to spread the joy of giving by providing an avenue to do so.”
– Ray-Donna Peters