Island Gems assists with SESSAD new playground

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MARIGOT–With children and education at the core of its criteria for grants, Island Gems Charity Foundation recently play a part in the acquisition of a specialized playground for the Service d’Education Speciale et de Soins a Domicile SESSAD. The organization, located in the heart of Marigot offers special education with care at home for some 50 children, age five to 15.

Island Gems, the island’s oldest and all-women charity, was approached via its Vice President Karine Fleming to be participate in the project to acquire a new playground. The foundation allocated US $2,000 to the almost 10,000 euros project and the remainder of the needed funds were gathered from Agence Regional de la Sante (ARS) – the regional health agency for French territories.

Fleming, who was present for the playground unveiling along with Gems President Alita Singh, Treasurer Kerisha James and Board Member Jody Rosen, said, “The playground will be used for recreation and more importantly for the children that have mobility difficulties to exercise and gain self-confidence.”

“Island Gems commends SESSAD and its dedicated staff for working diligently for the children of St. Martin,” said Fleming.

SESSAD is aided in its activities by a number of professionals from special education providers to a psychologist and psychometrist. Some of the professionals also have permission to work in the French side public schools with differently abled children.

SESSAD first assesses a child for six months in order to make a targeted diagnostics and for its professionals to determine if the association’s services can be beneficial to the child. If it is determined that the child can be assisted in the growth and development by SESSAD a tailor-made programme is created for the child’s needs. .

SESSAD has been operating on St. Martin for several years now. The association has been operating from its base, where the playground is located in the centre of Marigot, for three years now.

Among those at the unveiling of the playground is then Prefet Philippe Chopin, Senator Guillaume Arnell, ARS representative, representatives of Coralita Association and Tournesol Association for children with special needs, SESSAD Director Mr. Semedo.

Island Gems supports projects on both sides of the island. The foundation raises funds at is one and only event – a costumed gala dinner and silent auction. The next time the event will be held is March/April 2016.

Island Gems does not give any money directly to organizations. Services or projects are funded directly the supplier of the needed equipment or to service provider. Only request from legally established groups on both sides of the island are considered by Island Gems.

Information about accessing funds can be directed to any Island Gems member or by sending a messages via Facebook to “Island Gems Charity Foundation.”

PHOTO: SESSAD, Island Gems and ARS officials and other invites stand in front of the playground.