Minister Jacobs: Be innovative and community-minded



PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport addressed members of the media in Wednesday’s, July 26, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.

She started first with the Department of Sports, which has collaborated to assist Mr. Skeet, a St. Maarten pro ball player, who played with the Baltimore Orioles and is coming with a team from the Piper Davis Group to do some workshops in St. Maarten.

Skeet currently resides in the US and “has been trying to collaborate with us for some time. So we are happy that he will be arriving on the island today and will be hosting a sports scholarship training consisting of information related to college admittance, as well as taking sports in college, so specifically for athletes,” Minister Jacobs said.

This will be done in the form of workshops and the goal of the training is to ensure that the athletes are fully equipped with the knowledge of collegiate sporting, and also on the collegiate admittance procedures and requirements. Those athletes who are interested in a tertiary level of education, students, coaches and the general public, were invited to attend these training workshops, which took place at the Little League stadium from Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29 at 5:00pm.

Next, Minister Jacobs informed that “in August we have the Caribbean Wellbeing Conference. It’s a regional conference that is held every year, and this year will be held on St. Maarten in collaboration with the Youth Council and the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports.”

It is scheduled for August 6-8, at the University of St Martin (USM). This conference is to promote the positive development and wellbeing of children, parents, families, schools and communities.

The Conference aims to inform and educate on best practices to promote children’s wellbeing by looking at the important role that parents, families, teachers, schools and communities play in the promotion of well-adjusted, socially and emotionally competent youths.

The Caribbean Wellbeing Conference will also host free parenting sessions for parents on Monday, August 7, at USM at 6:30pm.

The workshop is entitled: “Parenting Through Mindfulness.” Then at 7:30pm there will be a panel discussion where attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to the well-being of their children to the panelists. For more information concerning the conference, contact Mrs. Service-Mussington at telephone 543-1235 or contact the Youth Council.

Then from the Division Study Financing, on Tuesday, July 25, there was a session for students and their parents, who are leaving the island to further their studies abroad. The students were given information on studying abroad, survival skills and voiced any pending concerns or issues they may have and had those answered and dealt with.

Then on Sunday, July 30, students leaving for the Netherlands, as well as students studying in the region are invited to their “Bon Voyage” ceremony, which will be held at the Princess Juliana International Airport at 1:00pm. All students who have been awarded study financing will be able to take part in the session. Some 30 students will be traveling to the Netherlands that afternoon along with two Division Study Financing officers.

“I would like to take this time to congratulate all those students who have done their due diligence in completing their secondary education, applying for, qualifying and being awarded study financing, which is an assistance that they will get to be able to complete their tertiary education. I wish them well, I wish them much success in keeping their focus on what they are going to do, and I would like to also take the time out to thank the Princess Juliana International Airport and Domino’s Pizza for co-sponsoring the ceremony,” Minister Jacobs stated.

Finally, the Minister mentioned that her Ministry is collaborating with a “Back to School” drive, which is the brainchild of 16-year-old Kimani Olivacce. “This is the second year that he has done this, and we have endorsed him in the past…we’re asking persons to sponsor, and I’m going to implore via this media, my colleague Ministers,” to donate bags and school supplies, articles of uniform clothing, and also gift certificates.

She commended the Strictly Business Foundation who also has a similar initiative. “You have several ways in which you can give back to the community by helping those less fortunate. Usually the foster children are the focus, but we would also like to include families who may be having their children with them, but are still having a hard time providing the necessities,” Minister Jacobs said.

This drive started since June 19 and will end on August 11, where all the bags collected will be given out on August 12. The Minister commended the young man for starting the initiative and wished him continued success “in being innovative and community minded.”

There are designated areas where you can drop off bags, and persons can also drop off at the government administration building. “We will be delivering a set on Saturday, August 12, so I look forward to the community to continue to support each and every effort of young people like this to make an impact in their communities and assist the needy,” Minister Jacobs concluded.