Monday, February 09, 2009

regular people for change in antigua

There is a meeting tomorrow night from 7 pm at the St. Anthony's school on the Blue Waters Main Road just down from North Shore corner. The purpose of the meeting will be to come up with ideas that we as individuals or as a group can turn into action that will help the youth of the nation. I strongly feel that many of our island's problems can be traced back to the misguided youth. Anyway there are many programs here in Antigua that were set up to help the youth. I heard over the weekend about the a group that was set up in Clair Hall. I think it was called HOPE or something like that. Maybe someone knows more about that. The Antigua Yacht Club and the Jolly Harbour Yacht Club both have youth sailing programs which aim to teach kids how to sail and eventually how to race. Anyway, you get the idea. Youth Skills (the site) is a government program which was set up to help kids learn skills like carpentry, masonry and other similar things. If you know of other programs here in Antigua please come to the meeting and share them. If you cant make the meeting but know of some programs here in Antigua let me know here. If you know of other good programs that exist outside of the country that would work well here to give the youth some direction please come to the meeting or speak about them here. Last night on CNN i was watching something about Hank Aaron's foundation. I tried to find out more online but didn't get a great site. This one was connected in some way and looks great. It should be a good place to search for ideas. That page was the mission statement but you can navigate around the site. Anyway, come to the meeting or let us know about existing programs that we as regular people here in Antigua can join and help.

1 comment:

ann phelan said...

Well done Eli, you know my stance on the situation on ANU. Think medical terms. You treat the symptoms but what if you do not address the tumor or the overlying illness? The problem keeps coming back over and over.

In Antigua as in MANY places the social and moral climate is disintergrating. There are many factors that have been systemic in the West Indies for years and gears. There is generational dysfunction. How to address this and make some strides? I am convinced there is a multi step approach. Kids need role models and mentors. They need affiliation and programs.We need to empower the kids. My own nephew on island is in a state of lethargy due to the fact there were no programs for kids. Walking around Cedar Grove the kids are either inside watching mindless American TV or wasting away outside in decrepid tennis courts.

Since Tourism is the main industry I look towards that industry as a starting point.

If hotels adopted a community say Blue Waters adopts Cedar Grove, they could establish scholarship funds (funded by guest donations and the hotel) to send cooks to school in the US or UK . Landscapers could got to colleges for this. U MA Stockbridge has scholarships and is a leader in this area to name one. Howard Hulfort at Curtain Bluff is a model for what a hotel can do for a community. The hotel could have family days once a year bringing a BBQ to the youth or community centers..…creating a link between a community and the hotel breaks down the gap. Teach local kids how to be tour guides. Walking tours showing local churches and sites…linking a school to a hotel. Tourists LOVE to donate time and money this way… Bonaire does this a lot. Tourists have adopted kids at the orphanage..they bring the kids food and clothes and write to them. On that note each hotel could have a sterlization program whereas guests could donate time and money to getting local cats and dogs sterilized. Americans and Brits LOVE animals.

What about a Community Reading Literacy Day. Local leaders in religion, tourism, business and all sectors volunteer to spend one hour reading to a classroom. This is done nationwide at all the schools. Ask Epicurean, TCM or the hotels to donate cookies and juice. Again, ask the hotel to sponsor a book program in the schools. Many hotels have a large repeater population that would love bringing books over to donate.

What about breakfast programs. Lions, Rotary or Kiwanis could spearhead this. Address the nutritional needs. How can a kid function on bread and canned cheese? They cannot...they need fruit and proper nutrition.

The Ministry of Education, Planned Parenthood, Ministry of Health and all those sectors need to unite to reexamine goals and to determine where there is need concerning teen pregnancy and more.

It's easy to sit and talk about it..it's another thing to step up and make change happen. I see Eli and other young entrepreneurs as being the people to step up and make their voices heard. This cannot be a political platform..this needs to be a unified front. No more blaming ALP or UPP or the church or the parents...unite and make the island a place you want to raise your kids and be safe.

I have been a school counselor and social worker for many years. If I can help at ANY time, you know where to find me.