23 Britannia volunteers to become foster youth mentors

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PHILIPSBURG – K1 Britannia Foundation in collaboration with The Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten (SJIS) recently completed its fifth STAP training, which qualifies adults to become certified mentors and foster parents to foster children on the island.

Some 23 K1 Britannia volunteers, who signed up to assist or mentor foster children, completed the course and were very keen and engaged in discussions on the well-being of these disadvantaged youth.

The 6-session training, which was given by psychologist Aisheline Maduro, dealt with the foster care system on St. Maarten, self-image and self-worth, social development, types of abuse and various forms of communication.

The information and tools given during the training ranged from informative, shocking, sad, useful and thought provoking. Feedback from participants about the information was that, “Children are often being neglected and have to fend for themselves” and that the foster care system is meant for children aged 0-18 years old.

One K1 Britannia volunteer said, “When I found out that a foster child, at the age of 18 is on their own and they have no support from anyone that they can count on, I thought wow, that’s really hard. I don’t know if I can do that, so maybe I can be that support.”

Having gained vital information, applying it through role plays, interactive discussions, and self-assessment questionnaires, the volunteers were excited to be paired with a foster child and start their mentor/mentee journey. “My family and I are very excited. We are family-oriented and we feel the need to share our blessings with a child to bring positive change to their life,” said another volunteer.

Other participants, a couple added, “We are open for the experience. we anticipate the start of this new journey in our lives and look forward to reaching out to our mentee and hope to guide him or her where they can have a brighter future.”

Another volunteer added: “If I am able to make a positive impact on my mentee’s life in any way, my mission will be accomplished. I will not promise a lot, but I promise that I will give my all.”

The sessions brought various persons from all walks of life, from retirees, civil servants, business owners, accountants, to HR and Marketing professionals and others together for a common goal of making one foster child’s life for the better.

This is a prime example of the importance of the foundation’s volunteer program, which aims to get the community actively involved in the areas they are interested in. Through its volunteer program, persons in the community are qualified to be mentors, as there are over 100 children and teenagers in foster care on the island. Having a mentor for every child and teenager in foster care is one of the best ways to help them heal and go on to become well-adjusted members of society.

The STAP training took place at the Taste Factory in Simpson Bay. The K1 Britannia Foundation thanked management and staff of The Taste Factory for the important part they played in making this training possible.

The STAP training was sponsored by SMDF, as it continues its partnership and support of K1 Britannia Foundation and its volunteer program. They believe in the importance of the program and the need to get persons in the community actively involved in making a difference. In this case, as mentors for foster children and teenagers who need that one-on-one time, love and attention.

The K1 Britannia Foundation will host another STAP training in the first half of 2017, for persons 21 years and older, who are interested in assisting or mentoring foster youth. All are encouraged to sign up as a volunteer online at www.k1britanniafoundation.org/volunteer/ to participate in making a difference in the lives of youth and other areas on the island.

For more information about K1 Britannia Foundation, visit www.k1britanniafoundation.org, www.facebook.com/K1SXM or email: foundation@k1britannia.org