SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - K1 Britannia Foundation in collaboration with The Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten (SJIS) recently completed its Mentors Training which qualifies adults to become certified mentors to foster children and teenagers on the island. Over the years, K1 and SJIS have completed multiple mentors training and this was the first for 2020.
Seventeen K1 Britannia volunteers who signed up to assist or mentor foster children completed the course and were very keen and engaged in discussions on the well-being of these disadvantaged youth. “Foster children come from all type of vulnerable backgrounds, they could have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. Mentors play a valuable role in the actions that need to be taken to get the children to become productive citizens of society,” elaborated Cynthia Filemon, Acting Director of SJIS.
The 6 session training which was given by psychologist Aisheline Maduro dealt with the foster care system on St. Maarten, self-image & self-worth, social development, types of abuse, various forms of communication and life in foster care. The information and tools given during the training ranged from informative, shocking, sad, useful and thought provoking. A participant shared some feedback stating, “the training was very in depth, exploring all aspects of life, emotions, etc. which contribute to how we react and interact socially. It showed how past experiences can affect how you handle current situations in particular how it influences your thoughts, behaviors and perspective on certain topics.”
Malaika Richards, K1 Program Manager and participants had the opportunity to learn and observe the potential mentors throughout the training. She saw participants actively wanting to change to be a better person for themselves but also to be the best mentor that they can be for their mentee.
She stated, “having gained vital information, applying it through role plays, interactive discussions, and self-assessment questionnaires, the volunteers are excited to be paired with a foster child or teenager and start their mentor/mentee journey.”
The sessions brought various persons from all walks of life together for a common goal of being a role model and touching one foster child or teenager’s life for the better. “We have children in our foster care system that need mentors. This group was an excellent group, very mature, excited about the program and about learning. All in all, I think this training went really great and I’m hoping for some wonderfulness coming out of it,” added Mentors Training Instructor, Aisheline Maduro.
“The Mentors Training was made possible through sponsorship by The Foundation Judicial Institutes St. Maarten, VNP – Dutch Representation Office in St. Maarten, Foresee Foundation (NPOWER), St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF), and the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset. We are grateful that they believed in the importance of the program and the need to get persons in the community trained to be able to mentor foster children and teenagers who need that one on one time, love and attention.” Stated Vice-President, Priya Thirumur.
“The next steps are screening and matching, and from there the beautiful journey begins where they actually open up to each other, where the life of that child and the mentor start to intertwine, change and grow on this journey together,” stated Yasmine Essed, Mentorship Program Manager. One of the participants shared their feelings towards the next steps saying “I’m feeling excited, excited to meet who I will be mentoring , excited to motivate, to be kind and to try my utmost best to make a difference.”
Based on demand, the K1 Britannia Foundation will host another Mentors training in 2020 for persons 21 years and older who are interested in assisting or mentoring foster youth. All are encouraged to sign up as a volunteer online at https://k1britanniafoundation.org/get-involved/volunteering to participate in making a difference in the lives of youth and other areas on the island.