PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Saturday January 23rd, The Miss Lalie Youth Care and Rehabilitation Center held a New Year Family Dinner. The ceremony started off with a warm welcome to all guests by Lucienne Papa, head of the pedagogical department and hostess of the event, whereafter the national anthem was beautifully sung by Mr. Davidson. Pastor Vernon Illidge was invited to the stage to provide a thanksgiving speech, followed by the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson who officially opened the ceremony with words of guidance and encouragement.
The Minister commended the MLC staff for all their hard work and commitment to the organization thus far and is gratified knowing that the staff members have been able to create a healthy and safe space for the young residents to be able to work towards becoming the best versions of themselves.
One of the greater challenges experienced by the young residents during their stay is not being able to attend family events or merely enjoy the company of their family and friends. The main purpose of the New Year Family Dinner was thus to give the juveniles a moment to connect with their family and interact in a more normalized manner.
The aim of the event was also to celebrate the positive behavioral growth and progress the young residents have made during their rehabilitation and reintegration trajectory over the previous months. During the juvenile award speech, each individual resident was highlighted and presented with a gift. A special award was given to one of the young residents for his outstanding performance and progress made in the rehabilitation program.
One of the main projects that was highlighted during the event was the transformation of the living-room and recreational area in the facility by mainly the young residents. They assisted in painting the walls in shades of light blue using tape painting techniques. The goal of this project was to lighten up the room and further transform it into a space that is more reflective of the needs and interests of its residents. The young residents were very eager to further assist with organizing the event and their contribution consisted of cleaning the courtyard where the event was held, cooking the 3-course dinner, assembling the tents and setting up the tables.
The event was hailed as a great success and both the young residents, and the family members were ecstatic about bringing the Christmas and New Year tradition to the grounds of the MLC facility. Tears of joy and smiles reaching from ear to ear were seen on the young residents’ and the family members’ faces during the entire event. The staff members were thanked for all their dedication, love, respect, guidance, and other therapeutic services they have provided for the juveniles during their stay. While rules and regulations form the foundation from which the institution is structured, the manner in which the staff of the prison executes these principles in practice greatly shapes the environment of the institution. Consequently, a positive prison environment results from a combination of a solid structure and an empowered and motivated prison staff.
The Miss Lalie Youth Care and Rehabilitation Center has come a long way since its official inception in 2014. It has been MLC’s goal to correct, educate, guide, and offer perspective to the young offenders. The MLC staff has quite some new projects and activities in store, and they look forward to advancing the organization as they move through 2021. The MLC staff would like to thank Ace Mega Store, Sherwin Williams, The United Brothers, Caribbean Liquors, Office World and Cost U Less for their generous contribution and commitment into making this event successful.