Captain I CAN grounded - Highflying motivational speaker shutdown by shortage of cash
After four years of motivating children across Jamaica, robotic superhero Captain I CAN says he is now hard-pressed to continue his mission of spreading positive messages because of his inability to find the money.
Captain I CAN is an eight-foot, interactive robot that has so far visited 45 schools in Jamaica to motivate students. He does so along with his sidekick and tour guide, Tamara Morgan, who goes by the name 'Mrs Sonshine', and three children.
"Captain I CAN is a motivational speaker. I also sing, I go to schools, I do devotions with Mrs Sonshine, and then we go into classroom sessions and do motivational talks with students, and after that we have a parent-teacher meeting where we also talk to parents.
"So it's in a nutshell trying to build stronger family values, stronger network in schools, letting people know that they can help to build their school," said the robot who does not generally disclose his true identity.
FINANCING THE TOURS
The school tour is financed by Altano and Tamara Morgan, who operate the I CAN stationery store on Slipe Road. The company distributes items such as exercise books, pens and mugs with affirmative messages.
The tour was sponsored on three occasions by the National Commercial Bank, but apart from this, the Morgans financed the cost of travelling to the schools, mounting sound systems and hiring a camera crew.
The crew normally goes into the schools from 6 a.m. and stays until about midday. In the evening, they meet with the parents. They can expect to pay anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000 to get a sound system into a school, which will help them to better communicate with the students.
"People ask me, Captain I CAN, how do you survive just talking for free, going all over these places?" said the robot.
"If I could have earned a dollar for every person that said we are doing a good job, we would be having millions now, and we could use those millions to help to transform lives," he added.
Still committed to their mission of spreading positive messages and counteracting the negative beliefs children grapple with, Captain I CAN and the Sonshine Family decided to travel to New York recently, where they were welcomed with much fanfare as they took part in a float. About 60 of their friends made donations to fund the trip.
"Persons overseas have schools that we can go to that will pay us to come there. They believe in what we are doing," he said.
The intention is to use the money earned from visiting schools overseas to invest into the local programme so that Jamaican children can continue to benefit from their initiative. But both Captain I CAN and Mrs Sonshine wish they didn't have to go this route to ensure that the local tour stays alive. They are hoping corporate Jamaica and the Government will partner with them to fund the vision.
"Now we are at rock bottom; that is why we went overseas. We went overseas to let them see what we are doing in Jamaica," said Captain I CAN.
The group hopes to visit all the schools in Jamaica over the next 13 years to spread positive messages, but they say they will need to get a recreational vehicle (RV) to make travelling easier.
To reach this goal, they have been soliciting donations through their website to purchase the RV, which is valued at US$170,000.
"For the engine to start moving again, we need some resources, and that is what we are crying out for," said Captain I CAN.