Cri­sis Cen­tre Af­ter-School Pro­gramme gets more than $41,000

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Chil­dren from in­ner city Cas­tries will con­tinue to ben­e­fit from the Sandals Foun­da­tion Af­ter-School Care and Ex­tended Sup­port (ACES) Pro­gram in part­ner­ship with the Saint Lu­cia Cri­sis Cen­tre.

The EC$41,376 an­nual ini­tia­tive, which be­gan in 2012, caters to 49 reg­is­tered chil­dren. Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor or the Saint Lu­cia Cri­sis Cen­tre, Norma Laborde, says the pro­gramme con­tin­ues to be of con­sid­er­able im­por­tance to the many chil­dren and house­holds it reaches.

For 2016, Laborde said the ACES ini­tia­tive will look to build on its man­date to pro­vide an over­all holis­tic de­vel­op­ment arena for chil­dren.

“We of­fer a safe en­vi­ron­ment, a bal­anced meal each day and so­cial sup­port for the chil­dren and their par­ents. The af­ter­noon sched­ule also in­cludes spir­i­tual guid­ance, ed­u­ca­tional as­sis­tance and re­search fa­cil­i­ta­tion,” Laborde said.

She added that the chil­dren who ben­e­fit from the pro­gramme are now ex­posed to ba­sic French classes – an ad­van­tage brought for­ward and fa­cil­i­tated by a vol­un­teer.

So­cial skills are also on the front burner of ACES with lessons on proper hygiene, good man­ners and the cor­rect use of cut­lery.

“We also have a vol­un­teer coun­sel­lor who as­sists our in­house coun­sel­lor. Danc­ing has been a part of the pro­gramme for some time with an ex­er­cise com­po­nent, and we hope to re­sume the swim­ming and ten­nis lessons as soon as pos­si­ble,” the Di­rec­tor said. “The Cri­sis Cen­tre will con­tinue to work as­sid­u­ously with the Sandals Foun­da­tion, to give those chil­dren a bet­ter chance in life.”

The Sandals Foun­da­tion has part­nered with the Saint Lu­cia Cri­sis Cen­tre on sev­eral ground­break­ing pro­grammes that tar­get at-risk youth and chal­lenged moth­ers from in and around the Cas­tries com­mu­nity. Di­rec­tor of Pro­grams for the Sandals Foun­da­tion, Heidi Clarke, has reaf­firmed the Foun­da­tion's com­mit­ment to ini­tia­tives like th­ese which tar­get youth and young moth­ers.

“It is im­por­tant to us that pro­grammes like this are sus­tained. We can never re­ally over­state the im­por­tance it has to a com­mu­nity, a fam­ily or a child. The Cri­sis Cen­tre has been do­ing an ex­cep­tional job in keep­ing the ini­tia­tive rel­e­vant and we are proud to call them our part­ners for yet an­other year,” Clarke said.

Since 2013, the Sandals Foun­da­tion has in­vested up­wards of EC$182,000 into mean­ing­ful projects at the Saint Lu­cia Cri­sis Cen­tre with an ad­di­tional EC$21,000 planned for later in 2016.

MD of the Cri­sis Cen­ter Norma Laborde (left) re­ceives cheque from Sandals PR Man­ager

Rhonda Gi­raudy

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