PHILIPSBURG – The 6-month K1 Britannia Work, Training and Social Development Program concluded with a beautiful ceremony held at the John Larmonie Center on Saturday, June 3.
The program was made possible through collaborations with the Court of Guardianship, the Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten (SJIS), the business community and sponsors, specifically Samenwerkende Fondson.
During the program, participants received work ready workshops to help prepare them to enter the workforce. They held various paid part-time jobs at multiple businesses on the island, attended their GED tutorials for their GED diploma, completed a computer literacy course at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, earned their Emergency First Responder certifications and volunteered with organizations on the island. The purpose of the program was to increase the employability and social responsibility of the participants.
Thirteen participants completed the program and were present alongside sponsors, work employers, instructors of the workshops and courses given during the program as well as family and friends that came to support the participants. Staff of the SJIS and the Court of Guardianship were also present to support the teenagers they guide and protect on a daily basis.
Master of Ceremony was Tony Dunkerley, the Program Manager, who ran the program and gave guidance and support to the participants during the 6 months.
Speakers of the day included Adelena Schaap-Chandler, instructor of the pre-employment workshops; Jenna Hagenloch, GED tutor; Rachael Collins, Emergency First Responder Instructor; and Mercedes de Windt, President of Animal Defenders.
All participants received their certificate of participation from Rodriguez-Emmanuel and Cynthia van Samson-Filemon. Special recognitions were given out for Best Attitude, Most Improved, Best Volunteer, Best Worker, and Best Overall Participant.
The day ended with speeches from two important partners, the Court of Guardianship and SJIS.
Rodriguez-Emmanuel, Director of Court of Guardianship, addressed the gathering and used her personal life story as a way to relate and encourage all in attendance.
She told the teenagers, “What I wish for each and every one of you here today, especially the participants is for you to realize this, you have a purpose, and we are created with a purpose.”
She ended, “I wish for each and every one of you, take the deep points, enjoy the high moments, but must of all, journey towards your success. Be grateful for your purpose, your journey and work towards your success. Because you can do it, if I can do it, you can do it too.”
van Samson- Filemon, Acting Director of SJIS, also touched on her personal life and talked about purpose and believing in oneself. She closed by saying, “Give yourself a chance. You have to determine for yourself what you want in life, find that bigger purpose and you will succeed.”
Tony Dunkerley closed the ceremony with these words: “Looking back over the last 6 months, I have really seen all of you undergo a high level of change, both personally and professionally. You have tackled challenges, as a group you have changed. The changes that I have seen in the participants shows that the youth of St. Maarten, regardless of their backgrounds can achieve great things with a little support and direction.”
The support to the participants by K1 Britannia Foundation will not cease with the conclusion of this program “as we will continue to help the teenagers’ transition into adult life in the months to come.”
The Foundation thanked Ms. Thomas for donating the John Larmonie Center and for Shieka’s for donating the delicious lunch. Thanks also went to Loic Bryan of Artistic Designs for donating the photography.
Many of the employers and sponsors, who assisted with this program were encouraged and are now ready to continue working with the foundation to assist the youth.