Some of St. Lucia’s leading ladies and companies joined forces with the Sacred Sports Foundation for a three day life skills workshop at the Upton Gardens Girls Centre as part of the Female Sports Diplomacy and Child Safeguarding efforts supported by the British High Commission.
The three day intensive workshop facilitated by the Sacred Sports Foundation at the Centre between March 21st-23rd saw the girls benefit from classes ranging from yoga and personal grooming to child rights and healthy lifestyles activities.
The education and awareness programme was among several activities undertaken over the past six months as part of efforts to encourage girls and female mentors to be more active and encourage female participation in safe fun healthy lifestyle activities.
“The girls had a great time and we are pleased with the success of the programme,” said Prisca St. Paul, the Upton Gardens director. “SSF has had a long association with the Centre and these activities were the latest to assist our girls in helping them understand and tackle the challenges they face moving forward.”
The Centre provides quality care to young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 who are abused, neglected and/or displaying challenging behaviours. Upton has become well known for its development work with disadvantaged local girls, creating a safe environment of warmth, trust and acceptance so that even the most challenging young ladies feel a sense of belonging.
The students were exposed to a ‘holistic’ programme of activities covering such subjects as ‘ Be Yourself, ‘ Be Empowered’, ‘Be Money Savvy’ , ‘Be Active’ and ‘Be Healthy’.
“Girls can take what they are learning and be a positive voice in their schools, their families and communities,” said Nova Alexander, facilitator of the workshop and executive director of SSF. “We also explored their discomforts that keep them from their full potential for joy in their lives”.
Both the public and private sector participated with mentoring the girls, including Upton partner CIBC- First Caribbean, The Ministry of Education –Theatre/Arts Kentillia Louis, The St Lucia School of Music’s Lestan Celestin, The Sandals Foundation Human Resource Specialist Ryan Matthew, F.A.C.E to face Spa head Tracey Farrin, I Am Ready World Events founder Marie Andrew Piazza and Yoga on the Bay chief Jill R. Hagar.
The students also conducted a number of sport and physical education activities including child rights and safeguarding activities.
The programme run by the Sacred Sports Foundation is supported by FIFA’s Football for Hope Initiative and the British High Commission and seeks to identify best practice in communities working directly with affected local youth, peer mentors and coaches to help re-educate and register coaches and officials as child safe mentors.
A advocacy campaign raising awareness of child safeguarding practices, voicing the concerns of local youth is also underway.
As well as the Upton activities, SSF has trained more than 50 coaches and youth mentors in St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenada in child safeguarding best practices.
A group of youth mentors and coaches from around St. Lucia, from Soufriere to Gros Islet, have already received child safeguarding training and undertaken child protection certification.