Sal­va­tion Army grate­ful for ren­o­va­tion ef­forts by San­dals

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - --- Keryn Nel­son

The Sal­va­tion Army (SA) has been serv­ing Saint Lucia’s dis­ad­van­taged for over a cen­tury. To­day, chil­dren just months old and up to five years of age, are en­rolled in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Child Care Cen­tre, which has al­ways been com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing af­ford­able su­per­vi­sion and ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices in a safe space to off­spring of sin­gle par­ent fam­i­lies and those from dif­fi­cult back­grounds.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion’s Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion Unit has re­cently set cri­te­ria for such in­sti­tu­tions as the SA’s cen­tre, ac­cord­ing to SA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Cap­tain San­dra Mitchell. The ini­tia­tive was put in place in an ef­fort to raise the stan­dards of lo­cal early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion across the is­land. As it per­tained to the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s fa­cil­i­ties lo­cated in Cas­tries, there were ar­eas of con­cern.

As Cap­tain Mitchell pointed out this week: “When they came here, be­cause the ceil­ings were brown, they said there was not enough light­ing in the class­rooms, there­fore we should re­paint it. The Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion Unit is also in­sist­ing that we have com­puter ed­u­ca­tion for our chil­dren as even at this young stage it is very im­por­tant they fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with re­lated tech­nol­ogy.”

In June this year, San­dals hosted the first Saint Lu­cian edi­tion of Vibes on the Is­land, a ben­e­fit con­cert fea­tur­ing Bar­ring­ton Levy, Spice, lo­cal soca stars such as Ezra d’Fun Ma­chine, Arthur Al­lain, and Sedale Semi. The pur­pose of the event was to raise money to fund ren­o­va­tion works like the above-men­tioned for both The Sal­va­tion Army Child Care Cen­tre and Faces of Can­cer.

San­dals’ Re­gional Pub­lic Re­la­tions Man­ager, Alex Holder, told the “At this par­tic­u­lar fa­cil­ity we as­sisted with ren­o­va­tion works to the ceil­ing of the school, the com­puter lab, the sick bay, their dry goods stor­age space and the kitch­enette down­stairs. The to­tal value of the project was just un­der $18,000.”

The rea­son San­dals chose this project, he said, was to meet two of their three de­vel­op­ment goals as it tar­gets ed­u­ca­tion and it con­nects well with the com­mu­nity. “Lo­cated where it is, we be­lieve for the fam­i­lies of a lot of the chil­dren com­ing out of the in­ner city com­mu­ni­ties, this school is their first choice to bring them into a safe en­vi­ron­ment while they go to work. So, of course, hav­ing the school up to par was im­por­tant.”

Cap­tain Mitchell ex­pressed the Sal­va­tion Army’s grat­i­tude: “It was a very happy mo­ment when San­dals came on board to help us meet these stan­dards.” As for Holder, he added: “Our part­ner­ship with the Sal­va­tion Army dates back to the ar­rival of San­dals on the is­land, about 25 years. So what used to be an an­nual part­ner­ship has blos­somed quite a bit over the last few years into more projects through­out the year.”

Holder said the next project will likely be the set­ting up of a li­brary for the Child Care in­sti­tu­tion—an ini­tia­tive that Cap­tain Mitchell wel­comed as a pri­mary need.

On Mon­day Ad­vi­sory Board Chair­man, Mr. Mal­colm Burns (left), Ma­jor Der­rick Mitchell (cen­tre) and Cap­tain San­dra Mitchell joined San­dals to re­veal the ren­o­va­tion work re­cently com­pleted on the Sal­va­tion Army’s Child Care Cen­tre.

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