C.A.R.E. Corner is a series of articles carried by The Voice newspaper which feature various aspects of C.A.R.E. These articles are intended to raise and promote awareness of C.A.R.E. This page features the second series of articles (run in the Spring and Summer of 2009).

 

 

16th May 2009
The C.A.R.E. Family Remembers Br. Dominic
By Brother De Lellis

On Wednesday, May 20th, all members of the C.A.R.E. family, trainees, instructors, co-ordinators and directors, will pay special tribute to their founder, the late Brother Dominic Brunnock. On that date, three years ago, Brother Dominic answered his Master’s call, and died peacefully in his native Ireland. I am sure that many more St. Lucians will also remember him on that same date, people who, in one way or another, were influenced by his dedicated work among them.
Brother Dominic first came to St. Lucia in July 1964. For the next nine years he was a teacher at St. Mary’s College where he taught many of our present-day professionals and national leaders. His teaching was not confined to the classroom only; he was also very much involved in the organization of sports and games, both at school and club level.
It was during these years too that Brother Dominic saw the dire necessity of doing something for the marginalised young people of St. Lucia. He saw many school-aged youngsters roaming the streets of Castries, with nothing to do and no school to go to.
Some day in the future he hoped to do something about it. Little did he know that it would take another twenty years.
In August 1973 Brother Dominic left St. Lucia and for the next twenty years he taught in the Presentation Brothers’ colleges in Barbados, Trinidad and Grenada. During these years he experienced some tumultuous events, like the attempted coup in Trinidad and the intervention of the U.S. forces in the island of Grenada. During this latter event, the Brothers’ residence was occupied by the local armed forces, so naturally, it was an uneasy time for Brother Dominic and his colleagues. At the young age of sixty-five he retired from the normal class-room teaching, and in so doing, I believe he gave a new interpretation to the word ‘retired’. Now the prophet Dominic was free to fulfil his dream.
In early 1993 he returned to St. Lucia, and in April of that year, the C.A.R.E. institution was born. The birth took place at the Marchand community centre, and today the programme is being offered at five different centres throughout St. Lucia.
C.A.R.E. corner has already elaborated on the success of this programme. But since
the present group of trainees have never met the person who made it possible for them to get a second chance in life, perhaps they do not appreciate how lucky they are to be given this opportunity. Brother Dominic lived his Christianity through helping young people to develop their God-given talents.
Brother Dominic’s work was recognised by both Church and State by the conferring of special awards: The Papal Cross - Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and the Gold Medal of St. Lucia. Pope Paul VI said that “the gospel is written in the key of action.” It is about action, not words. That too was Brother Dominic’s gospel.
He continued as executive director of the C.A.R.E. programme until failing health forced him to retire in June 2004. However, he continued to be very much involved in the development of the programme, and always gave of his expertise whenever requested.
In May 2005 he returned to his native country, Ireland, for surgery and other medical treatment. On June 6th. of the same year he entered hospital where he underwent various medical treatments for cancer and diabetes. At Christmas time he wrote a ‘general letter’ to all his friends in St Lucia. The letter read as follows: “This is the first letter that I have written to anybody since I entered hospital six months ago. As you know, I have gone through trying times since. I wish to thank everybody for his or her encouraging messages throughout this time. Please excuse my inability to write to each of you a personal letter.”
Very typical of Brother Dominic, always thinking of others, not himself...
So, let’s remember him on Wednesday, 20th. May was a special month for him.
He left St. Lucia in the month of May, and he departed this world in the month of May.
May he rest in peace.

 

 

 

18th April 2009 

Profiles of Past A.D.P. Trainees
By Agatha L
Verdant-Danzie
Staff Member


 

On the day that this young man came in to register as a prospective trainee, the first thought in my head was “Oh, my God!” Clad in faded jeans, jewelry all over even on his ears (large hoops), tattoos on his arm, a beard and thick plaited hair, he had migrated from Suriname and wanted to enroll in the programme. After having a heart-to-heart talk with his mother and himself, we got him to commit to doing away with the hair style, jewelry, etc., because having arrived in St Lucia and been told of the C.A.R.E. programme, he had discussed it with his mother, since he was convinced that he should give himself a chance to make that turnaround which he so badly needed. He was getting older and saw the need to change for the better. He started the A.D.P. like most trainees did – but a rough character he was, and it sure took a lot of grooming, persistence and patience to mold him.
According to him, one of the areas which touched him most was Self-Awareness. This was quite evident. On numerous occasions during this particular class he would get quite upset and disruptive. Finally, one day he confronted me by saying, “It’s like you telling my business to the whole class, and that gets me upset.” It was then that he shared a lot more of his life stories with me sounding quite upset and aggressive at first (he stuttered a bit). He had lived the life of alcohol, drugs, gangs, sex, peer pressure, verbal and physical abuse by his father, etc. (I had not known any of this until he sat down and started speaking to me that day). From then on, I saw him as being a different person. Circumstances had made him who he had turned out to be. There were marks on his body to prove some of his stories.
Gradually things started looking up for him; the need for positive change was evident. He became more supportive to staff and a role model to his fellow classmates. He gave them all the graphic details of his past. However, he was faced with lots of domestic problems; low finances, sibling rivalry, scarce meals, etc. Most times, as co-ordinator/instructors we would offer help, a meal, or any form of assistance that we knew he was in need of. He never refused. showed no sense of foolish pride, and it was so amazing to see the changes that came over him during the weeks and months to come.
By the time he was near completing the A.D.P. he was proud to say that he had no regrets about doing the programme and that he felt more confident in expressing himself due to his newfound skills in Public Speaking. By then he was able to control his stuttering a lot more. More than that, he had turned out to be “a darling”. There were days when certain trainees were on the rough side. He would stand up and speak out to them using himself as an example that they should take, considering where he was coming from and where he was presently. He was a source of support to both trainees and instructors. It did not take long before a few trainees started following in his footsteps, which was a joy to instructors.
Though his heart was set on Electrical/Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration at Anse-la-Raye, this trainee had to settle for the Vigie Skills Centre to do Electrical and Small Appliance Repairs. Financial constraints were the main hindrance, plus considering the location of his home to the said centre, the decision was taken for him to do his training at Vigie. From the outset of this phase, he was an exemplary trainee and proved himself when he was sent on job training.
Today, he boasts of being one of the supervisors on his work site, a position that he is proud of. Over the years, since completion of the programme he has always found the time to come in as a guest speaker to address our trainees and even just to “check up on things.” According to his mother, “He is a blessed child.”
And, in this instance, I can verily attest to the fact that first impressions are not always lasting ones.



 

11th April 2009
C.A.R.E’s Welcome Volunteers
By Nahdjla Bailey

Since the inception of the C.A.R.E. programme, about 14 volunteers have come and gone, all having done their bit to enhance its quality as well as the lives of the C.A.R.E. trainees. Volunteers to the programme have been mainly from Ireland, where the Presentation Brothers, headquartered in Cork, recruit island-wide.
Currently, the programme is fortunate to have volunteers Kate Brand and Brian Dilworth who hail from Dublin, and who have been in St Lucia from last August. They plan to be here for the full 2008/2009 academic year. Kate is based in Odsan and teaches English and Maths, while Brian is stationed in Anse-la-Raye, instructing in Information Technology (IT), in addition to his other role of being in charge of Technology Management at the C.A.R.E. outfit as a whole.
Before coming over, Brian and Kate spoke to former C.A.R.E. volunteers, and were encouraged and excited by the positive accounts given of the latter’s own experiences in previous years. Brian, a telecoms engineer by profession, works with Eircom, a telecommunications company back in Dublin. He has taken a year’s leave of absence to come to St Lucia to contribute his time and talent to C.A.R.E. Kate is a primary school teacher in a boys’ school back home in Dublin’s north inner city, and also took leave for a year to be a part of C.A.R.E.
Kate says she loves being able to give her small groups of trainees the individual attention that is so crucial if they are to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. She often meets on a one-to-one basis with those most in need of attention. For her, it is rewarding to see some of the progress being made by the trainees as a result of their hard work and commitment. One of her biggest challenges was the fact that she had not worked with teenagers before, but from all accounts she is being very effective in the classroom and finding the experience really enjoyable.
Now, the challenge for Brian was that he was new to teaching, however he has been enjoying the experience of IT instruction with the Office Skills class. He is pleasantly surprised by the obvious enthusiasm of the trainees for this subject area. He says they show a thirst for knowledge and is pleased to be the one whose job it is to impart that knowledge to them. Brian reports that one of the really rewarding experiences for him was seeing the trainees’ excitement when he installed and networked seven reconditioned computers at the Mabouya Valley Centre, where up to that point there had been just one poorly functioning and, no doubt, lonely machine, which was itself given a new lease on life. Many of these machines find their way to C.A.R.E. through the generosity of government departments, private sector concerns, service organizations and aid organizations, and are always welcome.
Both volunteers are lavish in their praise for St Lucia – its weather, its beautiful scenery, its friendly people. They report being extremely pleased with the warm welcome which they received from their local colleagues. They are also impressed with the camaraderie which exists among staff members, as well as their hard work and dedication. Additionally, they say, the love and care which staff members show to trainees is commendable, as is their conviction of the difference which they make to the St Lucian society through their work in the programme.
The parents too, say Kate and Brian, have impressed them with their involvement in and support for their children’s continuing education both at home and at school. The volunteers expressed their thanks to both Dr Mason, Executive Director of the programme, and the Presentation Brothers, for providing them with the opportunity to be here and to serve, and for supporting them in every way in their new roles and in St Lucian life generally.
Of course, there are those times when the pair misses family and friends, and particular celebrations back home, but they are quick to admit that their pleasant experience of St Lucia more than makes up for it and that they will certainly be taking back happy memories which are sure to last a lifetime.
And I have every reason to believe every word of it, for so taken with the island are Kate and Brian, that they are planning a July wedding here, when they will be joined by family and friends from the Emerald Isle. Best wishes to the happy couple-to-be, and we thank them for their service to St Lucia.



 

04th April 2009
C.A.R.E’s caring ways: 4 case studies
By Lorraine Mitille - Staff Member

(1). Trainee began the Adolescent Development Program (ADP) and was constantly complaining of tummy aches. Her mother was brought in and we suggested that she take the child to the doctor. She was given a prescription to fill but the tummy aches continued and in fact became more severe. The young lady spent most of her day resting at the centre, and always refused to go back home no matter how sick she was.
It was not until one of our rap sessions that we discovered that the young lady was being sexually abused by her stepfather. Her mom however refused to believe the child. We referred the case to social services and were told that they already had a case on this child, but because of the number of cases they were faced with and the lack of human resources, the file was pending.
The mother, instead of doing something about the situation to help the child, pulled her out of the centre. As an instructor, I personally went to the mom and threatened to have the stepfather exposed by any means. She eventually sent her daughter back to complete the program, and because of the threats and constant phone calls to the child at home to ensure she was safe, the abuse stopped. That young lady changed dramatically; there was a smile on her face and you could see her joy, something we had not seen at the beginning.
She was able to complete the program successfully. I strongly believe that if we had not intervened, something drastic would have happened, as the young lady had planned to take her life.

(2). This particular young lady registered for the program and was eager to begin. She happened to be very intelligent but it was quite obvious that something was missing in her life.
During one of our parenting sessions she broke down in tears. This obviously brought that particular session to an end as I had to take time to attend to her situation immediately. It was during our conversation that day that I found out that at sixteen years she had never met her mother. She was raised with her grandparents on her father’s side and they wanted to have no contact with her mother. She however had many questions, and she wanted to meet her mother whom she felt would provide the answers to her questions.
As the instructor, I made an appointment to visit her grandparents. They agreed to meet with our counselor and me. However, when we got to the house, her grandmother was upset and threw water at us. That did not deter us. We were able to speak to the grandfather who gave us some information about her mother.
It took us some time and a lot of effort in locating her mother, but eventually we were able to contact her. We soon found out that her mom had got pregnant at fifteen years and she was not financially able to take care of the child so the father’s parents had agreed to help until she could. She said she never got to see the child after they had taken the child from her at three months.
It was touching that we were able to get those two together and we were able to arrange visits at the Centre. This is the only time she would meet with her mom. Happily, she is one of our success stories, doing very well at present.

(3). This young man came to the program emotionally unstable and stressed out because of his situation at home where he lived with his mother and siblings. He broke down in one of my self-awareness classes on ‘Who am I?’ It was very heartbreaking, especially seeing a young man going through what he was going through.
The young man had to take refuge at my house every afternoon and spend time there till evening when he could go home and not have to face his mom. I eventually got him a job to keep him occupied after school. He was also able to make some money to take care of himself financially and not have to depend on his mother for anything. His mom for some reason blamed him for the way his life had turned out because she had had him at a young age and his father had not taken on his responsibilities.
Eventually, one day, the mom emigrated from the island - leaving his two other brothers and a note on the table. It was a real challenge and a difficult time in his life as he had to support his two siblings. His grandmother stepped in and helped a bit. Although he had other responsibilities, he felt it was the best thing for him. He continued working after school and was able to keep the family together with a lot of support from C.A.R.E.
This particular trainee began the program after our young leaders had done a project with his family. The enrolled trainee at the time had raised funds and sponsored this young man to start the program. He started the program with very low self-esteem. His financial situation was not at all good. His family had been severely battered, and failure was very much a part of his life. Most times he was very depressed.

The trainee embraced the program although he struggled throughout the first year. He, however, was able to successfully complete the first year and moved into skills. During his skills year he was faced with a number of problems especially financial. C.A.R.E. sponsored him during the skills year and he was supported by the instructors financially, emotionally and spiritually. He did excellently in his skills year and is now gainfully employed and is assisting his mom and siblings financially and emotionally.

(4). A young lady came to the interview practically in tears because of the many problems she was faced with at home. She was overjoyed when she was accepted into the program. Starting the A.D.P. worked wonders in her life. During our self-awareness sessions she opened up freely and expressed how she was practically responsible for taking care of her six (6) other siblings at home because her mother neglected them very often, leaving her responsible for the children. Even with her many problems, she embraced the Adolescent Development Program and was our most outstanding trainee of that year.
Her skills year was not as challenging as the first year as we were finally able to bring her mom in to work on some of their problems. This young lady was able to secure a job during her internship; she was also able to help her siblings. She is doing extremely well working for eight (8) years now at the same place where she did her internship.
These are just some concrete examples of the caring ways of C.A.R.E. and the strength of the Adolescent Development Program (ADP).



 

28th March 2009
The Transformational Effect of the C.A.R.E. Adolescent Development Programme (A.D.P.)
By Sr. Bernadette Peter - A.D.P. Instructor

One of the most important assets of any society is its youth, adolescents who will one day themselves become its leaders, parents and formers. Therefore, how our adolescents are formed, shaped and prepared for their roles in the society will have a direct effect on the society they will inevitably lead. Those charged with the responsibility of our young people, whether within political, social or religious systems, must ensure their holistic development.


The C.A.R.E. programme has a proven record of rescue and renewal for so many young persons in this society, a clear sighted and sensible plan for growth and development to meet the growing demands of the adolescent. By far the most important aspect of the C.A.R.E. programme – A.D.P. - is that it seeks to transform the trainees who enter the programme with low self-esteem, poor self-image, anger, hopelessness about their future, no sense of direction and feelings of being rejected by society, into well rounded, useful citizens. C.A.R.E. is committed and dedicated, through the A.D.P., to rescuing, nurturing and transforming our adolescents into responsible, confident, independent and successful members of the family, the community and the society.
The A.D.P. is designed to help the young trainee develop as a ‘whole’ person spiritually, physically, intellectually, creatively, emotionally and socially. It is a programme which is aimed at the total development of the individual through a variety of activities, interactions and guides. Does this transformation take place for each trainee who completes the A.D.P? The answer is that there is a certain dimension which each adolescent arrives at - a personal experience of inner change - that we instructors cannot quite put into words.
The effect of the A.D.P. on our trainees, something which we proudly note every year, is that the young man or lady who felt hopeless, angry, lacking in self-esteem and riddled with a poor self-image is now enthusiastic about life and about himself or herself. They look towards the future with hope and the expectation of a good life for themselves. Many of our trainees are able to hold full-time employment not so much through the merit of the skills they have learnt and developed at C.A.R.E. but through the merit of the positive attitudes they bring to the workplace
The A.D.P. has undoubtedly saved the lives of hundreds of St. Lucian young people from destruction: being trapped by drugs and crime, unwanted pregnancies, the cycle of violence. Surely, the success of these trainees and the personal transformation and development which takes place in their lives will filter through our wider communities and the general society and encourage others to help create a better quality of life for all. Consequently, what our St Lucian society needs is an expansion of the C.A.R.E. model, so that many more young males and females can be given that precious second chance.
 

 

21st March 2009
The Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (C.A.R.E.) Programme

The C.A.R.E. programme focuses on the promotion of self-empowerment that helps our youth take charge of their lives and their destinies. This programme provides our youth with the opportunities to believe in themselves as well as to develop the ability to identify the alternatives in any situation and to choose one of these alternatives on the basis of one’s values, priorities and commitment. The programme is also designed to foster positive attitudes in our youth towards themselves, towards others, towards work and towards work-related situations, thus empowering them for more wholesome and independent living. The programme is implemented in two phases. The first phase is referred to as the Adolescent Development Programme (A.D.P.), and the second phase is the Skills Programme.
In the A.D.P., the trainees are provided with the opportunity to:
• develop a deeper level of self-understanding, self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence in young people.
• develop a deeper experience and awareness of the great love of the Supreme Being has for each one, through a specially designed Spirituality course.
• develop in young people proper attitudes towards themselves, towards people, towards work and towards work-related situations.
• foster in our youth socially-accepted codes of conduct and discipline.
• provide our young people with the skills of literacy and numeracy.
• provide a detailed Family Life and Parenting programme designed to make our young people aware of the responsibilities involved in bringing children into the world and of the obligations involved in caring for them.
• provide improved inter-personal and communication skills.
• help our young people deal with their emotions, especially the negative emotions of fear, anger, shame, sadness and boredom, and also help them to overcome prejudices, complexes and hang-ups that they may have acquired in life.
In short, the A.D.P. is designed to help the young people develop as a “whole” person spiritually, physically, intellectually, creatively, emotionally and socially. It is often referred to as the S.P.I.C.E.S. programme which aims at the total development of the individual through a variety of activities.
At the end of the A.D.P., the young person is given the opportunity to receive training in an income generating skill of his or her choice. The skills from which trainees choose are: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Auto Mechanics, Carpentry and Joinery, Catering and Hospitality, Cosmetology, Electrical – small appliance repair and installation - Garment Construction, and Office Skills. Soon to be offered will be Agriculture. At the end of this skills training period, the trainees engage in a six-week apprenticeship programme with local industry and business firms.

Location of C.A.R.E. Life Centres
There are five (5) C.A.R.E. locations, namely, Gros Islet, Odsan, Mabouya Valley, Anse La Raye, and Soufriere, The Centres in Gros Islet, Mabouya Valley and Soufriere offer only Phase 1, while the Anse La Raye and Odsan Centres offer both Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Recent Awards

At the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority’s National Clean-Up Activity Awards 2008 ceremony held on 28th February, 2009, C.A.R.E. received the following awards as a result of participating in the Anti-Litter Schools’ March held on 7th November 2008:

C.A.R.E. Odsan Life Centre – 1st Place Secondary Schools: Most Creative Slogan/Placard.

C.A.R.E. Anse La Raye Life Centre – 2nd Place Secondary Schools: Best Organised/Energetic Group.

Additionally, C.A.R.E. Grow Well received a Certificate of Appreciation for participating in the national clean-up campaign 31st October – 2nd November 2008. 



 

14th March 2009
NEW C.A.R.E. CORNER
By Nahdjla Carasco Bailey

C.A.R.E. Corner is overjoyed to make a return appearance in this second series of articles related to the C.A.R.E. programme and its undoubted success as an educational institution in the St Lucian landscape. We begin by once again remembering the late Bro Dominic and his vision in establishing the C.A.R.E. programme locally. We also register our appreciation of the other Presentation Brothers who have served over the years and those who continue to serve today. We must not forget our local instructors who remain faithful and committed in the face of difficulties. Again, we acknowledge the necessary support given by our loyal C.A.R.E. sponsors, and we thank them for that. We also thank the Board of Directors of C.A.R.E. for its hard work and vision. Then there’s the industrious Dr Karleen Mason, Executive Director, who heads the programme, and her dedicated secretary, Mrs. Modeste. Last, but by no means least, we must thank those current trainees of C.A.R.E. as well as those C.A.R.E. alumni in the world of work who are models of everything which the programme embodies.
Come next Saturday, we will commence the new edition of C.A.R.E. Corner with a brief overview of the programme which trainees follow. From there, we hope to move on to more personalized, individual case histories and perceptions of the programme as it relates to the trainees. These will come from various members of the C.A.R.E. staff. We will then devote the next cluster of articles to graduates of C.A.R.E. by profiling in their own words several of them who have made us extremely proud of the manner in which they are performing in their chosen careers and in their management of life generally.
By now, readers should be aware that in characterizing C.A.R.E., we refer to two distinct phases of involvement and engagement of trainees: the very necessary and valuable A.D.P., which stands for Adolescent Development Programme and which is run in the first year, and the Skills Programme which is followed in the second, as well as in the recently added third year. The A.D.P. component of the overall C.A.R.E. programme is designed to help the young trainee develop as a “whole” person spiritually, physically, intellectually, creatively, emotionally and socially, and has been lauded by educators and employers in the St Lucian environment for its obvious success. This first-year component of the programme has caught the attention of the Ministry of Education which, under both administrations, has expressed an interest in finding ways to incorporate it into the mainstream educational institutions - so positive has been the feedback on the attitude and performance of C.A.R.E. trainees.
We trust that by airing these texts in successive issues of this newspaper, the general public will come to appreciate the worthiness of the C.A.R.E. programme and its achievers. Hopefully, it will inspire the authorities to actually do something about replicating aspects of the programme, as well as expanding the C.A.R.E. brand in order to give the many young people who still need it, a genuine second chance, instead of pretending that they are well taken care of in the accommodating but hardly equal U.S.E. institutions.

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