Essay Contest Encourages Children To Express Appreciation of Mothers

What better way to let the mother figure in your life know how much she’s appreciated than with an essay telling her just how much she means to you, and a spa and relaxation package to boot?

VIVA! Villas is hoping to give this gift to one lucky St. John mother this Mother’s Day with its Mother’s Day Challenge, which encourages anyone to write an essay describing how much they appreciate the mother or mother figure in their life. The winner’s mother, or mother figure, will receive a day of relaxation with everything from spa services to a house cleaning.

The all-female staff at VIVA! came up with the essay contest at a weekly meeting, explained the villa management company’s owner, Angie Smith-Liburd.

“We decided we wanted to do something to empower women,” said Smith-Liburd. “We noticed that kids and fathers aren’t really telling their mothers how much they appreciate them, and we wanted to help people verbalize to their mother or mother figure how they feel about them. We came up with the idea of this Mother’s Day Challenge essay contest, where individuals can write to us and let us know why their mothers should receive this gift.”

Spa, Cleaning, Handyman Services
The package includes a slew of gifts including handyman and cleaning services for the winning mother’s home, and nanny services for the day donated by VIVA!.

The villa management company is seeking other gifls including spa services for a day, dinner at a local restaurant, a new outfit and supplies for the handyman to use while fixing up the winning mother’s home.

Gifts which have already been donated include a car detailing from L&L Jeep Rental, a personal training session at Gym in Pradise and a catered lunch from KatiLady Catering. The Beauty Lounge, Zozo’s, Today’s Flowers and Love City Limos are also sponsors.

“These are all things we thought, as mothers, we’d like to have,” said Smith-Liburd. “We will also publish the winning and runner up essays in the St. John Tradewinds along with the mothers’ photos. In addition, the vendors will get recognition and they can show the community they support empowering women and showing appreciation for mothers.”

Local businesses can donate money, the services mentioned above or additional services which they think would benefit a local mother, Smith-Liburd added.

Giving Back to Community
The Mother’s Day Challenge provides a rare opportunity for VIVA! to give back to the St. John community, the villa management company owner explained.

“We don’t really have an opportunity to donate a lot to the community because the homes we manage are privately owned,” said Smith-Liburd. “We wanted to come up with a way to give back to the community so everyone in the office is volunteering their time. Everyone in our office feels really good about the project, and we just really like the idea of being more involved in the community and empowering a local woman to show her how much she’s appreciated.”

Smith-Liburd, a mother herself, hopes anyone with a positive mother or mother figure in their life will enter the essay contest. Anyone who enters but does not win the contest still has a meaningful essay to give to the mother or mother figure in their life, she explained.

“I have two teenagers and two little babies, and when they do say little things to me, it’s just really wonderful to get that appreciation,” said Smith-Liburd. “People should enter the contest to show their moms how much they care for them. They need to tell them how much they are appreciated, and recognize their mother for all the wonderful things she’s done.”

“More than receiving a gift, mothers love to hear how much their family appreciates them,” Smith-Liburd added.

Anyone except employees of the vendors who donate to the package are eligible to enter the essay contest. The mother or mother figure written about in the essay must live on St. John. The essay should be 250 words or less, and the deadline is April 13. The gift package will be given to the mother sometime around Mother’s Day in coordination with her schedule.

Essays can be faxed to 693-9436, dropped off at VIVA!’s office in Boulon Center, emailed to or mailed to PO Box 1747, St. John, VI 00831. For more information, call VIVA! at 779-4250.