Rwanda Project USVI


Now accepting applications for July-August 2012 Rwanda trip. Apply

Rwanda Return 2012 Video

Rwanda Return 2012 Video. Your help is needed!  Find out how you can help...

USVI Kids painting a mural in Rwanda

Who We Are

Barbara Young - President and Co-Founder

Barbara Young - President and Co-Founder of Rwanda Project USVIA graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, Barbara Young has been teaching in St. Thomas since 1978. While at the American Schools in Venezuela and the Canary Islands, she implemented courses in creative writing and photography on the high school level. Travel still remains her passion and she loves to share her photography with her students at Eudora Kean High School. Barbara feels that all people can be changed by experiencing other cultures and that the Rwanda Project has the potential to effect positive change in the Virgin Islands. She is the mother of Julia and Andrew Casazza, ages 18 and 17. She is married to George Casazza, who recently retired as the Physical Education teacher at Addelita Cancryn.


Cecile de Jongh - Vice President and Co-Founder

Cecile de Jongh - First Lady of the Virgin Islands, Vice President and Co-Founder of Rwanda Project USVICecile de Jongh became First Lady of the Virgin Islands on January 1, 2007 when her husband, Governor John deJongh, was inaugurated as the Territory’s 7th elected governor.

As First Lady, Mrs. de Jongh promotes several causes, including one that has touched her own family - she has established two local chapters of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) in order to further raise awareness about this disorder and to seek support for affected families. She is a certified Parent-to-Parent Teacher through CHADD and is a founding member and honorary board member of Habitat for Humanities of the Virgin Islands. She is presently a Trustee for the Antilles School; a 12 year board member for the Foundation for the University of the Virgin Islands; a board member of the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce; and, in 2007, launched Camp Shriver in St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Mrs. de Jongh is a graduate of Marquette University, with a degree in business administration and marketing. She has been recently honored as a Rotary Person of the Year. She and her husband were married in 1986 and have three children, John III, Rene and Julian. To learn more about Cecile de Jongh, visit her website at:

Shaun A. Pennington – Secretary and Co-Founder

Shaun Pennington - Secretary and Co-Founder of Rwanda Project USVIShaun A. Pennington is the publisher and owner of the V.I. Source publications: St. Thomas Source, St. Croix Source and St. John Source. Shaun has served on numerous boards and committees on St. Thomas, including the St. Thomas-St. John Arts Council, the Chamber of Commerce Education and Marine Committees, the League of Women Voters, the Ad Club of the Virgin Islands and the Friends of Fort Christian.

In 2001, Pennington was named Rotary Club II of St. Thomas Person of the Year.

She is the mother of two grown sons and the grandmother of 2 and a half year old Beckett Reiff. Pennington believes the value of first-hand experience in teaching young people new values and perceptions is beyond measure.


Cheri Ward - Treasurer

Cheri Ward - Treasurer for Rwanda Project USVICheri Ward is a physical therapist working at Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. She completed her undergraduate and Master's degree in physical therapy at Ithaca College before going on to receive her doctorate in physical therapy from Temple University. During her time at Ithaca College she participated in humanitarian aid trips to Nicargua and Belize.

Cheri is originally from Syracuse, NY and relocated to St. Thomas in 2004.



Cassandra Dunn - Board Member

Cassandra Dunn - Board Member of Rwanda Project USVICassandra Dunn is the Director of Customer Service and Corporate Communications for the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA). Among many of her duties, she is responsible for the utility's community outreach and education activities. Under her leadership, WAPA was selected an Energy Star Partner of the Year 2008 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the utility's efforts to educate the public about saving money on high energy costs and protecting the environment through energy efficient products and practices. She was the 2008 recipient of the "Light the Way Award" from the V.I. Energy Office for her personal and professional contributions to the field of energy conservation in the territory.

As a 35-year resident of St. Croix actively involved in the local community, Mrs. Dunn recognizes that the people of Rwanda and the Virgin Islands are privileged to live in two of the most beautiful places in the world, but daily economic, social, and political issues present unique challenges to improving the quality of life in both environments. She welcomes the Rwanda Project USVI as an opportunity to work with local and African youth to produce future leaders committed to resolving issues of humanity in their own communities and in communities around the world.

Dunn holds a B.Ed from Howard University in elementary education and a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of the Virgin Islands. She is married to Jymmy Dunn and has two daughters, Jasana,19, and Djenee, 17.


Onaje Jackson - Board Member of Rwanda Project USVIOnaje Jackson - Board Member

Mr. Jackson is a leader in the sustainable design and development movement and his company, Sustainable Systems & Design International (SSDI), is a cutting edge performer in “earth-friendly” infrastructure (energy, water, and waste treatment systems) and facility design, engineering, and implementation. SSDI has completed successful projects throughout the Caribbean, Central, and South America.

Before founding SSDI in 1993, Jackson served and also provided technical support for the V.I. Energy Office as Technical Advisor. Between 1981-89, Jackson served as an Applied Research Associate for two top architectural engineering firms in the New York City area focusing on energy conservation in buildings, building integrated solar technologies, and applied materials research. In 1979-80, Jackson completed an internship at the Solar Energy Renewable Institute (now known as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and designed a demonstration project using renewable energy technologies in rural areas for the Government of Jamaica, West Indies.

Mr. Jackson is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Yale University with Degrees in Architecture and Applied Science and City Planning. He has served multiple terms on the Boards of Directors of the American Solar Energy Society lectured extensively in the US and the Caribbean on renewable energy and sustainable development.

Roy Watlington - Board Member Roy Watlington - Board Member of Rwanda Project USVI

Roy Watlington is currently a professor of physics at the University of the Virgin Islands with 26 years of service. His professional and research interests are in physical oceanography, natural hazards, modeling climate change and in science curriculum development. Oceanographic expeditions involving students and several publications have resulted from these interests. He is also the Co-Principal Investigator of CaRA, the Caribbean Regional Association for an Integrated Coastal Observing System, through a university partnership under the auspices of the University of Puerto Rico. He expects to continue working with CaRA and the ocean observing initiative after a planned retirement within the academic year. Before UVI, he was a professor at the University of the District of Columbia and held other teaching jobs as well as technical positions with Boeing Aerospace, NASA, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Until recently he served as a member of the US Delegation to the UNESCO organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (IOCARIBE). He is a founding member of IOCARIBE’s Group of Tsunami Experts.

In the community he has served as an officer of the Virgin Islands Conservation Society and was a co-founder of the St. Thomas Association of Roadrunners, with which he is still active. More recently his community service has been focused on educating the public about the natural hazards that affect the Virgin Islands. He has done this through numerous public presentations, by serving as a pro bono expert to emergency planners, and by illustrating natural hazard threats in a book about the disasters that befell the Virgin Islands in 1867. A native St. Thomian, he believes strongly that the future well-being of Virgin Islanders would be best served if residents became more aware of their natural resources and the scarcity and endangerment thereof. To this end, he enjoys taking his students and others on field trips to explore places where pockets of wilderness and environmental beauty remain on the island of St. Thomas.