Tzu Chi helps Key to Freedom at first graduation ceremony

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Cul de sac, Sint Maarten — St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation and its volunteers assisted Key to Freedom drug and alcohol rehabilitation center during its first graduation ceremony at Celebration Palace on Sunday, July 26.

The seven Key to Freedom graduates were Gerard Chirlias, Rafael Venon, Cyril Williams Melvin Hous, Etnaldo Benders, John Samuel and Jacob Alexander. Those who graduated successfully completed the programme at the center and are ready to be reintegrated into society.

As part of its continued efforts to inspire with vegetarian delights, the Tzu Chi donated a number of vegan treats, a Key to Freedom graduation cake, water and non-alcoholic champagne for the event.

A total of 13 Tzu Chi volunteers dedicated part of their Sunday to help prepare the vegetarian items and serve guests. The vegetarian treats included croquettes, vege chicken sate slice, vege pepper steak slice, bread with tomato brouchette and fruit, cucumber/tuna quiche and journey cakes with cassava cheese.

After serving guests in an organised and uniformed Tzu Chi manner, volunteers remained on hand to help clean up after the event.

Key to Freedom Foundation and its Director Elvison Adamus is a fervent supporter of Tzu Chi Foundation and is usually present to lend a helping hand during Tzu Chi events.

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said Tzu Chi and its volunteers were more than happy to be able to return the kindness to Key to Freedom.

Key to Freedom Foundation is located at Marigot Hill Road #3 and currently has 12 clients.

Its rehabilitation programme covers drug and alcohol abuse. The Foundation has five board members. The Foundation’s vision is to include the youth, women and the elderly in the community.

Tzu Chi volunteer Claire Elshot said she was grateful for the opportunity to assist at the graduation ceremony because Key to Freedom is always there for All Children’s Education (ACE) Foundation School events. “I am extremely proud of all the graduates,” Elshot said. She urged the graduates to focus on what lies ahead and to take their graduation as a serious effort to really benefit them.

Guests at the event included a representative of the Ministry of Justice and members of the Christian clergy.

Cheung thanked volunteers for their efforts and congratulated Key to Freedom and the graduates for reaching this milestone.