By Andria Barrios

Sharon Bentley, local mother of four, became president of the Brandon Caribbean American Cultural Association (BCACA) because of her passion for education and children. Ever since, she has led the organization in benefitting the community through establishing education foundations in youth.

BCACA is an all-inclusive group which includes 58 active members and meets several times a week. Members tutor Kindergarten to twelfth grade students throughout the year in math, English, history and many other areas.

“We have quite a few skilled and knowledgeable individuals as part of our club,” said Bentley. “No child is excluded; we tutor private and public school.”

The 2nd annual Backpack Celebration Event took place earlier this month and served as a good demonstration of BCACA’s passion for education and care for the community. Fundraising for this event began on June 13 and lasted until August 12. Fifty free backpacks as well as school supplies were given to children who attended, and parents gave speeches about involvement in their children’s lives.

“It was beautiful,” Bentley said. “Proud parents spoke of the importance of sitting and reading with children as well as getting involved with their teachers.”

Raising funds for children’s cancer research is another facet of BCACA. Through bake sales, banquets, ladies and karaoke nights, this organization works with St. Jude to contribute. Last year $300 was given, and this year that number was raised to $500.

Next year’s annual Backpack Fundraiser will begin on June 11 and last until August 13. The Backpack Celebration Event will take place on August 14.

“These are the best times of the year,” said Bentley. “Children have always been my passion. I strongly believe in ensuring we lay a foundation through quality education. As with building a house, the foundation is a necessary element.”

BCACAlogo There is a $20 individual and a $30 couple fee to join BCACA. Contact (513) 536-6466 or email bcacainc@gmail.com for more information. The Brandon Caribbean American Cultural Association meets at 104 S. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.