Atlanta, GA and Jamaica are separated by nearly 1,200 miles, but for Atlanta strategy consultant and radio host, Soyini Coke, both are places she calls home. Coke travels from Atlanta to Jamaica several times a year to visit family and connect with her roots. In late 2015, Coke was standing by a waterfall on the Hope River Trail in Jamaica. While moved by the beauty, she was also heartbroken by the bottles and plastic bags everywhere. It was in that moment she decided to do something to make a difference.
In late 2015 Coke, along with her brother, Courtney Coke, launched a crowd funding campaign (www.hoperivercleanup.com) to raise money to clean up the Hope River Trail, and to create lasting solutions for maintaining the natural beauty of the trail. The first phase of the campaign was a success. Enough was raised to clean up the trail and purchase temporary trash receptacles. The project was featured on Jamaica National Radio, and over 80 volunteers showed up for a kick off event to clean up the trail. Coke also found a sponsor to pay for trash removal for a full year.
Coke has reached out to her community in Atlanta for the next stage of the project – continued clean up, permanent trash receptacles, and beautification projects for the trail. In our increasingly connected world, projects like this one serve to connect people in meaningful ways. Says Coke, “I’m turning 40 this month, and I want my life to make a difference. Instead of having a party or taking a trip, I decided to celebrate my birthday by bringing people together to tackle tough issues – both here and in Jamaica – to make a beautiful part of our world even more beautiful.”