Sandals South Coast team member’s undiluted passion for service and philanthropy
An infectious smile flashed across her face as Kimberlee Callam recalled one of her very first acts of kindness.
Callam could not have been more than 10 years old when she took her mother’s furniture out of the house and gave it to a community member who was in dire need.
Little Kimberlee gave no thought to the consequences – which involved her mother’s fury – she was just happy to be able to help.
Fast forward to today, Callam is a Red Lane Spa receptionist at Sandals South Coast, but she is known on the resort for much more than that as she has not outgrown her kind ways. Stories of her generosity echo across the resort.
Callam’s Sandals journey started over five years ago after successfully completing an internship at the Sandals owned, Beaches Negril in 2016. Having worked in the Spa over the years, the idea of relaxation undoubtedly excites her but not nearly as much as charity does. Callam is a ball of energy with an insatiable zeal for giving back and helping others.
“I believe I am called to serve. It is something that is in me and I am not able to shake it easily. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to go out and give back. It doesn’t have to be a major event, as long as I am able to help somebody in some way, I will always be on board,” Callam shared.
The stories of Callam’s benevolence are true.
She is an active ambassador for the Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International and she is one of the most decorated members of the Environment, Health and Safety group known throughout the company as the Sandals Earth Guardians. Her involvement in these groups allows her to go into various communities on a regular basis and serve those in need-the perfect place of employment for her.
The saying ‘one good turn deserves another’ may be trite, but it carries an enormous amount of truth for Callam. This is evident with her repeated monthly awards for being an outstanding Sandals Foundation Ambassador and Earth Guardian. She participates in numerous outreach projects spearheaded by the resort. Throughout the years, she has lost track of the number of coastal cleanups, back to school treats, Labour Day projects, reading road trips, infirmary visits, school visits and so much more that she has happily volunteered to participate in.
“I try to be present at all Earth Guardian and Sandals Foundation outreach projects. I always encourage others to volunteer as well and I send them constant reminders leading up to the project. So, if it is a case where I can’t make it, I know there are others who have gone out to give back,” she said.
Despite her demanding job and robust presence in the Spa, Callam always makes the time to volunteer, even on her days away from work.
And while she admitted that her kindness is intrinsic, she shared that she takes after her father.
“I grew up seeing my father sharing with just about anybody. He was like a Good Samaritan who was always quick to lend a helping hand. Here I am now, just the same way,” she said, beaming with pride.
Callam has an innate drive to champion the preservation of the environment and for the cause of energy conservation. She laughed good-naturedly as she shared how fussy she gets when one leaves a light on.
“People think I am the energy police. I never leave lights on in a room or office and I don’t allow anyone to do it either. Once someone exits an area and leaves the lights on, it’s as though I have a natural reflex to just switch them off.”
It is also evident that for her, her passion for service has nothing to do with the numerous accolades she has accumulated to date. She recalls being awarded one month and opting to use her prize money of US$200 to treat others.
“I went to Miss Vilma, the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Manager here at Sandals South Coast and told her that instead of giving me the money, she should let us cash it out and use it and do something for others. I am grateful that they deem me worthy of the prizes but I just really love to give back. I do not even think about the rewards, honestly. Going out there is rewarding enough for me,” Callam shared.
Callam was the sole conceptualiser of a recent yoga session for her fellow team members at the resort. She rallied her general manager, Adrian Whitehead, EHS Manager Vilma Smith and fitness instructor Jermaine Ritchie to join her and other team members for an early morning beach, yoga session.
“I thought about it and figured it would be a nice team building activity and a great fitness initiative for all of us. It was early morning but those who came out enjoyed the session and our general manager shared that we could look into making it a monthly initiative. We will see how it goes,” she shared.
Lest readers say that self-praise is no recommendation, Vilma Smith, head of the Earth Guardians at the resort spoke highly of Callam.
“Kimberlee has a very compassionate heart. She is kind to a fault that sometimes it is almost unbelievable. She also has this thing about her that makes people want to work with her. If we are planning a project, once she is involved, then we know others will also show up. I think her kindness produces a beautiful ripple effect,” shared Smith.
Callam’s kindness transcends the communities that Sandals supports as she gives back outside of work too. While she may not be the initiator of large outreach initiatives in her Grange Hill, Westmoreland community, she gives back in the little ways she can and she does it with a high degree of humility and confidentiality.
“I will give just about anything. If it is lunch money, bus fare, a ride to work, a listening ear, I will do that,” she said.
Callam hesitated to share some of the other philanthropic exploits she has undertaken in her hometown out of respect for those who confide in her- another kind trait.
It is indeed apparent that truly, Callam’s kindness knows no bounds.