WIB and SMDF donate towards children’s mental health
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WIB and SMDF donate towards children’s mental health

From L to R: Melanie Choisy, SMDF Program and Development Manager, Carmencita Chemont and Miranda Veltman of Intervision Foundation, and Ferdinand Beauperthuy, Marketing.  From L to R: Melanie Choisy, SMDF Program and Development Manager, Carmencita Chemont and Miranda Veltman of Intervision Foundation, and Ferdinand Beauperthuy, Marketing.

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Intervision Foundation’s mindfulness training for children is one of the most recent projects to benefit from an ongoing and fruitful partnership between the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and The Windward Islands Bank Ltd. (WIB). The 8-week mindfulness program is targeted towards children aged between 8 to 12 years old identified by local psychologists, general practitioners (GPs) and the care teams at local schools. Mindfulness training has been proven to be an effective mechanism for children who experience stress at home or who have behavioral/attention deficit issues, anxiety and/or depression.

After the disastrous impact of hurricane Irma in 2017, the number of mental health related issues have, unfortunately, been steadily increasing and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, there is much evidence of increased stress within families and in schools, which creates an additional negative impact on social and communal healthcare and wellbeing. According to Intervision, untreated mental health issues can lead to social aggravation, rigidity, the development of depression and anxiety disorders which in turn, results in the ultimate loss of a functional member of society.

While there has been increased attention for Mindfulness in schools internationally, the concept is still relatively unknown on St. Maarten. This project aims to help children develop healthy coping strategies where they develop resilience, positive attitudes, a better self-image, the ability to concentrate and greater self-awareness. The program will also involve parents in the process, in order for families to learn to live more consciously and change unhealthy habits.

“Over the past year and a half, SMDF has taken note of the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s and parents’ mental health. With youth being one of our most vulnerable groups on St. Maarten in need of positive development into healthy adulthood, SMDF has recognized the need to support programs and projects targeted to this vulnerable group,” said Program and Development Manager Melanie Choisy of the SMDF.

Project Coordinator of the Mindfulness for Children Program Miranda Veltman expressed that “Intervision is grateful to receive funding to start the project of teaching mindfulness to children as this will help them develop life skills that will improve performance and better choices in life as they move forward.”

The program is slated to begin in January 2022 for a group of 15 participants. The grant to Intervision was made possible by The Windward Islands Bank Ltd. who in 2020 presented SMDF with a NAF 110,000 donation aimed at COVID-19 relief alongside their annual contribution towards social projects on St. Maarten.

For more information about SMDF, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website to learn more www.smdf.sx.

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