Additional moves towards the Upton Gardens Girls Centre becoming the leading catalyst for change for adolescent girls in Saint Lucia have taken place.
On August 8, 2023, staff of the educational and behavioral-change institution met with a wide cross-section of stakeholders for a strategic review for its functioning and operations.
Present for the meeting of minds seeking solutions outside the box were Ministry of Education officials, social workers, Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) personnel, youth representatives, and others along with Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment officials, under whose jurisdiction the Centre falls.
Residential Social Worker at the New Beginnings Transit Home Eliuna Monrose-Henry, a sister agency that works in tandem with the Upton Gardens Girls Centre, says stakeholder participation is critical to achieve developmental continuity.
“Basically my agency works closely with the Upton Gardens Girls centre and so it’s very important that we are part of this workshop to plan the way forward for our girls and to provide the necessary support that they will need,” notes Monrose-Henry.
Recently appointed Director Olympia Piper Cools Vitalis says coming out of the exercise will be a practical 3 to 5 year comprehensive strategic plan that will guide the institution’s operations moving forward. “The aim of reviewing our objectives and strategic plan is to explore where we are at, what are the challenges and how do we get this phenomenal product at the Upton Gardens Girls Centre packages in a manner that persons in our society would see it as a valuable resource to access for their adolescent females.”
Along with reviewing the Centre’s diverse academic offerings, other vital areas placed under the microscope as part of the strategic consultation were the Income generating aspect of the Centre, Strengthening family engagement, and Staff development.
Centre personnel say the old stigma of the institution being a place for wayward girls must also be dispelled. The Upton Gardens Girls Center seeks to empower and support young females ages 12 to 18 experiencing challenges.
SOURCE: Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment