St. Vincent Initiative

"Large streams from little fountains flow, Tall oaks from little acorns grow."
~ D. Everett in The Columbian Orator, 1797
December 3rd is #GivingTuesday. With your help, we have "planted a lot of acorns" in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).  See the Accomplishments graphic below.

There is still much to do. Resiliency can be nurtured through a relationship with a caring adult who can share a sense of hope. We train local people to provide services and build relationships with traumatized and abused kids. You know, it's the "teach a person to fish and feed them for a lifetime" style.

This #GivingTuesday we’re fundraising to help traumatized and abused children in SVG:
  1. to provide Stephen Ministry Leadership Training
  2. to provide Kinship Mentoring Training

Join us by donating or creating a Facebook fundraiser on December 3rd, #GivingTuesday.

Donate now or, for a matching grant, donate 12/3/19 #GivingTuesday

Can you help fund Stephen Ministry Training?

Collin Jackson is our Mentor Program Coordinator. He will bring Stephen Ministry to SVG as "layer 2" of the Mentoring and Accompaniment program for kids. He teaches Religion at St. Martin's Secondary School in SVG. (Collin's originally from Trinidad). Help Collin attend Stephen Ministry Leadership Training.

Salene Dopwell coordinates our trips to SVG. She is the Executive Director of Guadalupe Home and teaches full-time at SJCM. Click here to help Salene get needed supplies for SVG schools and Homes for Children.
 

Can you help fund Kinship Mentor Training?

In February, Karen and David Downing of Kinship Partners will join Jerry and Collin in SVG to train local community members as mentors for children and adolescents. Karen is a Brainerd Kinship Coordinator. Karen and David are volunteering their time, but help with travel expenses is greatly appreciated.
David is the Executive Director of Kinship Partners and Kinship, Inc. In 2017, Jerry asked for his time to get some "hints and ideas" for starting a Kinship-type program in SVG. He had more than a few ideas and generously offered to go to SVG as part of the training team. 
 

Thanks to your generous support, all this is possible.

In August 2019, Jerry spoke at The Cathedral in Kingstown, SVG. He invited local community members to help children in SVG using 3 "layers" of accompaniment.

  • Kinship Partners training – to foster long-lasting relationships between caring adults, children, and teens.

  • Stephen Ministry training – to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to children and teens who are hurting. (Later, this might expand to serve adults as well.)

  • Mental Health training and Spiritual Direction – to provide guidance to overcome trauma, abuse, and to find a connection to God acting in the midst of pain.

Jerry volunteers his time in SVG and you can help with travel expenses. He has made 5 trips since 2017 providing many pieces of training and helping plan programs.
Donate now or, for a matching grant, donate 12/3/19 #GivingTuesday
 
 
 

This is the first part of the intervention plan and is currently under review (so it might change a little). I have heard many people tell me to go slow and be patient. One of the gifts of the Spirit is patience (apparently also translated as long-suffering).

So, rather than attempt to train people in January 2018, it has been suggested that I take a few more trips to build trust.

1) Visit 3 times in 2018 - spreading the word and building trust.
2) Hire an on-the-ground organizer to continue the enthusiasm between visits.
3) Get more details that will help in structuring sponsorships and agreements to keep the children/families in the programs.
4) Plan for the 3-layer mentoring training (Kinship Partners will help us) for 2019.

After the August 2017 Needs Assessment, we developed a number of goals:

  1. To continue to build trust with people in St. Vincent while working toward providing training programs. This will take time and patience. It will also need a "presence."
  2. Many children in SVG (especially those living in orphanages) will benefit from a relationship with caring adults. Resiliency can be nurtured through a relationship with a caring adult who can share a sense of hope.
  3. Provide one-on-one care for the boy in St. Benedict's Home.

We will train local community members to help children in the Homes using 3 "layers" of programming. Each child will be matched to adult mentor(s) based on their needs. After the pilot project, we will expand mentoring to all children in need. We will provide training for adults to serve as volunteers or paid a stipend (more on that reasoning later). Training layers will be:

  • Kinship Partners training – to foster long-lasting relationships between caring adults and children and teens.
  • Stephen Ministry training – to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to children and teens who are hurting. (Later, this might expand to serve adults as well.)
  • Mental Health training and Spiritual Direction – to provide guidance to overcome trauma and abuse, and to find connection to God acting in our lives.

Christian theology supports the notion that we are "called" to certain action and led by the Spirit of God. Whatever your faith tradition, there is some similar notion of "God's will for my life." Discernment is the process of listening for that call. If a priest, pastor, or other church minister speaks of their calling, people accept this with a smile of respect. If a layperson speaks like this, we get a silent pause and then a smile of a different kind. This smile might be interpreted as "OoohKaaay. He's delusional." I've gotten that second smile enough times that I have just learned to keep quiet. Until now.

This is the story of how I see the Spirit working in the lives of people open to the gentle whisper of the Spirit.

Helping Children of St. Vincent and the Grenadines - First Visit Note: Church-state relationships in many parts of Central America and the Caribbean are tentative. I have been asked not to distribute this via the internet or social media lest it be read as critical of the people and government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). If you wish to share this, please share only with individuals. If you need the password, please contact us using the secure contact form at the top of the page.

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The St. Vincent Initiative is our collaboration with local church sponsored orphanages and programs for children in SVG. In August 2017, we conducted the first Situational Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study to see how we might be of assistance in training local workers.

On a Caribbean vacation, you see smiles and sunshine -- but that's not the reality of many who live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). 48% live on only USD 2.72 per day. Families and children suffer. Many children are abandoned or abused and live in orphanages.

Many Thanks SVI

 

Thank you, donors and volunteers, for helping with the initial phase of The St. Vincent Initiative: Training Orphanage Workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Rachel Kristyniak

Susan Chandler

Mike & Carol Smith

Steve & Katrina McCarthy