PLANTATION, Fla. – Born in the Virgin Islands, Vernell Roberts, broker-owner of Horizon Real Estate Solutions in Plantation, had a father from Trinidad and a mother from Dominique.
“They [the Virgin Islands] got hit recently by several hurricanes, back to back. So, I assembled some supplies with a few local non-profits to get stuff there. It didn’t go well,” she says.
Much of it stayed at the port and never got handed out to the people who needed it most. That spurred the idea to form the Caribbean Association of Realtors International Board Inc. (CARIB), a 501c3 approved non-profit organization. This organization was formed to provide tangible services to individuals and families from impoverished communities and descendants of the Caribbean.
“We will bridge the gap within our community to change the landscape in which individuals and families view and practice financial stability, asset building and generational wealth,” says Roberts. “Additionally, we will support, educate, empower and advocate for professionals as they work with these families to encourage future growth and development.”
Roberts selected volunteer ambassadors, one for each island. “They are the point of contact between our organization and the local leadership,” she says. “A couple of the ambassadors are colleagues of mine from other companies. It’s a chance to advocate for each other.”
The ambassadors pay a membership fee and work to raise money through community picnics and grant raising.
“We want to educate people from these islands that there are programs available to help them, from getting a home to continuing education,” she says. “We also provide scholarships for higher education and help coordinate relief efforts through other non-profits in the Caribbean to help when natural disasters strike. Before CARIB, a few of my colleagues provided relief supplies to families who were devastated by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. We coordinated fundraisers and were able to send a few containers of relief supplies to the islands. We realized a more formal non-profit could do even more.”
Roberts adds, “I am a descendant of the Caribbean. I was raised by a single mother who was not aware of the opportunities that existed that would allow her to become a homeowner. The strength from my mother’s DNA dwells deep inside me. I have learned through her that the only way to change my financial outlook and that of my family is to learn from some of my family’s shortcomings. The stripes I earned from my life experiences have helped shape the woman, mother, daughter and broker I am today. Doing good for others is an extension of that. I want to share my success.”
Roberts continues to work on securing grants for CARIB and pushing the non-profit forward. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/theCARIB/.