- The Child Resiliency Programme of the Violence Prevention Alliance is the beneficiary of funds raised at this year’s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB) held on January 16 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
- In addition, the Victoria Mutual (VM) Foundation, sponsors of the NLPB, will be partnering with the organisation for an initiative that will be implemented on Labour Day.
- Speaking with JIS News, Founder and Director of the Child Resiliency Programme of the Violence Prevention Alliance, Dr. Kim Scott, says she is pleased that her organisation was chosen as the sole beneficiary.
The Child Resiliency Programme of the Violence Prevention Alliance is the beneficiary of funds raised at this year’s National Leadership Prayer Breakfast (NLPB) held on January 16 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
In addition, the Victoria Mutual (VM) Foundation, sponsors of the NLPB, will be partnering with the organisation for an initiative that will be implemented on Labour Day.
Speaking with JIS News, Founder and Director of the Child Resiliency Programme of the Violence Prevention Alliance, Dr. Kim Scott, says she is pleased that her organisation was chosen as the sole beneficiary.
She notes that the assistance has come at a time when funding from a government agency and an overseas donor has ended.
“At this particular juncture, we need some significant private-sector and government support. We cannot continue to exist on external grant funds. We have to now strengthen partnerships with government and private sector [and] ensure that a programme such as this does not shut down because of lack of funding,” Dr. Scott tells JIS News.
“We have been gracefully blessed by the Joan Duncan Foundation, Jamaica Money Market Brokers, and we are very grateful for them, and the American Friends of Jamaica who have been supporting the Montego Bay arm, and other donors,” she adds.
The Child Resiliency Programme started as a personal journey for Dr. Scott in 2006, to help children.
“I had left my job as the overall Adolescent Health Coordinator at the Ministry of Health, and I felt that I had a need to be more operational at the ground level and to see some actual difference in children’s life,” she tells JIS News.
“It began with volunteering at Mona Primary [School] … with three or four children who found it very difficult to function and I used to carry them under a tree and help them with their homework, and do a little sport with them. We then brought them over to Hope United Church [nearby], and before we know it, three turned into 30, 30 turned into 60 and now we have 220 families and children,” she adds.
In 2014, the Child Resiliency Programme began operating under the Violence Prevention Alliance. Currently, the initiative is operating out of four locations – Boys’ Town, Young Men’s Christian Association, Falmouth All-Age School and Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College.
The Programme works with schools, churches, mental health services, community-based organisations and the police to create a network of support for vulnerable children.
“These children have had high levels of exposure to domestic violence, to community violence and they’ve been traumatised, and if we don’t offer some supportive intervention, which we are doing after school, it runs them into the risk of entering into a life of crime and violence later on. We take referrals from the teachers and guidance counsellors and they come after school to our four various community organisations,” Dr. Scott informs.
She further notes that nutritional support is also offered, in addition to life skills training and group counselling.
The Founder and Director states that intervention is normally done through sports and cultural arts.
“We find that’s where the children shine. That’s what they love to do and we believe in fun and play. We use the sports and cultural arts to teach the life skills, so we go through a series of themes over a one-year period, for example, self-esteem building, anger management, problem-solving, decision-making, and then we teach these skills right across the board,” Dr. Scott explains.
Additionally, teacher training, parenting and family counselling, as well as, home visits for children who need further attention, are offered under the programme.
“Once a year, we have an opportunity to try and help teachers to manage and to be better able to handle behaviourally challenged children in the classroom,” she states.
Dr. Scott tells JIS News that the initiatives facilitated under the programme are result-oriented.
“What we’ve found is tremendous impact on the children after just one year. We find better impulse control; less fighting in the classroom, as was previously reported by the parents, teachers and guidance counsellors,” she informs.
“We find parents are getting more involved in the child’s life, [they are] better able to discipline rather than beating; we find better communication with their child, and we are finding an increase in love for learning and reading by the children, which is one of our most important measures,” she adds.
She also points out that the programme places emphasis on building the spiritual foundation of the children, “but we also have to be practical, in that we need sustained funding”.
For the past 32 years, the NLPB has collected and donated approximately $122 million to deserving persons and organisations.
The funds have assisted in the provision of medical care; education; construction of infrastructure for the homeless; provided assistance to children in State care, flood relief and skills training programmes.
Meanwhile, Manager of the VM Foundation, Naketa West, tells JIS News that her organisation is excited about the partnership and the lives they will be changing through it.
“We had a consultation in October last year, and through that interaction, we actually nominated the project and it was selected based on that,” she states.
She adds that discussion will be had regarding what the Foundation and the Child Resiliency Programme of the Violence Prevention Alliance can do on Labour Day.