Local non-profit organization, Do-Nation Foundation Inc., collaborated with the Ministry of Equity to host a Men’s Convocation recently to discuss issues facing men and boys and sharing the knowledge they need to become better citizens.
The event was held on Sunday, November 27, at the Indoor Facility at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, and featured various activities.
Highlights on the day included an exhibition featuring booths by BELfund St. Lucia, Centre for Adolescent Renewal & Education (C.A.R.E.), National Enrichment and Learning Unit (NELU), Bureau of Health Education & Substance Abuse, St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA), RSLPF Community Relations Branch, Ministry of Labour, Boys’ Training Centre (BTC), Saint Lucia National Youth Council (SLNYC), Ministry of Equity, and others.
Attendees benefitted from free blood pressure and blood sugar testing, prostate screening, and mental health education and awareness, as well as finding out what opportunities are available for entrepreneurs.
Diane Felicien, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Do-Nation Foundation Inc., said the event offered an opportunity to demonstrate to men that they are very important players in the family unit, and that they resources they need are available.
“This is a way of showing our men that they are loved,” she said. “It is a way of showing our men that there are opportunities out there for them. Most times, we would hear from our men that the law is not on their side or there are no activities geared towards our men. So this is why we are here today, and will continue to do so as we engage our men.”
Felicien also thanked all partners, sponsors, participants and well-wishers for supporting the event.
Ajani Lebourne, a representative of the Saint Lucia National Youth Council (SLNYC), commended Do-Nation Foundation Inc. for hosting the forum, noting that young men need such spaces to discuss and learn how to overcome their challenges.
“We recognize that nationally there is a need for strong men and strong households,” Lebourne said during his brief presentation at the event. “Many men across the island have challenges with finding positive role models. Many young men are challenged with dealing with issues of mental health and wellbeing. Many young men are challenged with accessing quality education. Many young men are challenged with finding organizations that can provide the opportunity for them to live a quality life.”
Lebourne said the National Youth Council will endeavour to do as much as possible to serve the young people. Speaking to the issue of youth crime and violence, he noted that addressing the problem will have to include inculcating the importance of values in shaping behaviours.
Meanwhile, the feature address was delivered by Hon. Joachim Henry, Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment. While some men do take their roles and responsibilities seriously, Hon. Henry said many men are shirking theirs.
He underscored the harsh realities that can ensue when the family structure breaks down, especially when fathers are absent or do not play a crucial role in their children’s lives.
“While we have the gun violence within our community, and our children participate in gun violence, we, as fathers, create the perfect environment to get them into that kind of activity,” Hon. Henry said. “Because when the children are unable to receive support from their parents, there are people around the community who would invite them to participate in things that will not help the situation.”
Other activities at the Men’s Convocation included a cricket game by members of the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association, a bike show, domino games, bouncing castle for children, and entertainment from Secret Band.
Do-Nation Foundation Inc.’s mandate is the provision of dedicated service to eradicate social ills by delivering socio-economic support to affected families across Saint Lucia. Through collaborative efforts and sponsorships, people benefit from a wide range of services, including:
- Job placement
- Rehabilitation and reintegration into society for troubled adults and youths
- Holistic approach with each client and support to recovery from their situation
- Teaching single parents the necessary parenting skills and how to maintain balance in their lives
- Police guidance/support/legal advice for victims
- Monthly follow-ups and updates on clients
- Community projects designed to foster positive societal change
- Triage service before referral for counseling
In May this year, Do-Nation Foundation Inc. partnered with Deeds Driven Dads Inc., which is based in New York, to provide essential coaching and other assistance to fathers facing challenges in Saint Lucia. The initiative was a continuation of “Father’s Rise”, which was hosted by Do-Nation Foundation Inc. in June 2021, and highlighted fathers from various walks of life.
Do-Nation Foundation Inc. is the brainchild of Diane Felicien, who grew up in Marchand, Castries, and witnessed the many struggles people faced there. Determined to make a difference in people’s lives, she quit her hotel job of nearly 18 years and became Coordinator of Volunteer Saint Lucia before moving on to form Do-Nation Foundation Inc.
SOURCE: Do-Nation Foundation Inc. Headline photo: A Flow employee (left) talks shop with a student from the Centre for Adult Renewal & Education (C.A.R.E.) at the Men’s Convocation.