SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation recently visited the Miss Lalie Youth Detention Center on Bush Road on invitation of center representative Alfred Williams.
The foundation’s five volunteers, who made the visit, took the opportunity to share a message of love and also spread seeds of love by donating packages to the five clients and four staff members at the center.
Each package contained a pack of playing cards, face towel, soap, toothbrush, juice, cup noodles, club social biscuits, mints, Chinese plum, sketch book, color pencils and Jing Si aphorisms book, which are in five languages.
This was the first time Tzu Chi visited the Center and volunteers were initially uncertain about how the youths would react to their visit to speak about love and care. However, with pure hearts volunteers delivered their powerful message about love. The interaction with the youths was positive. They listened intently and showed interest.
Volunteers explained how Tzu Chi began from a simple vow to help others to a worldwide movement, when 30 poor housewives set aside just two cents daily, leading to the formation of the foundation.
“It started with a little amount of money, but with pure thoughts, tens of thousands of people have now joined to help others,” said one volunteer. Tzu Chi is now in 62 countries around the world and its work never stops. Volunteers also gave an insight into Tzu Chi’s work post Hurricane Irma.
Some volunteers also took some time to speak about their experience with Tzu Chi. Volunteer Philip van Delden spoke about choices and making the right ones in life. He spoke about the power of giving and shared about his opportunity to visit Tzu Chi’s headquarters in Taiwan, noting that he could feel the love and indicated that it was a great learning experience for him. Tzu Chi, he added, is an organization that embraces compassion.
Another volunteer, who is battling cancer, shared about her strength to use the opportunity that she has to volunteer and give back to society despite her personal circumstances. Another volunteer said she is grateful to be part of Tzu Chi and have the opportunity to follow its founder Master Cheng Yen and share her story.
Volunteers also performed sign language song “One more candle to the light,” which seemed to strengthen the bond between volunteers and clients.
The five clients seemed to have absorbed the information given and were receptive during the session. The packages as well as Master Cheng Yen’ s teaching aphorisms were presented to the clients and staff.
During the visit, volunteers observed the deep care and concerns shown to the youth in the center. The clients requested regular visits from Tzu Chi and expressed interest in learning more about the power of love.
Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung is grateful to the Miss Lalie Center for the invitation to speak to interact with the youth; appreciative to the youth for being receptive to the visit and humbled by volunteers for their selfless actions.