- Written by Jerry Jensen
What is the St. Vincent Initiative?
We volunteer time in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
SVG is the third poorest country in the Caribbean. 48% of the population lives on USD $2.72 per day.
Many children are abandoned or abused and live in orphanages. Many more are traumatized due to multiple impacts.
There is one psychologist in the entire country.
There are too few counselors to meet the needs of the children, and systems are overloaded. The Catholic Church is the main NGO providing social services in SVG.
We were asked to help – namely, Jerry has been called and is building a team – by Bishop Gerard County of the Kingstown Diocese in SVG, which is the sister (or twin) diocese to the Diocese of Duluth, MN.
We believe that most "mental health" issues are, in reality, normal reactions to abnormal situations.
We believe that training local community members and professionals will make a long-term impact. Our philosophy is like the saying, "give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime."
We've conducted a needs assessment with local leaders (2017). We have developed a plan to provide three layers of training for mentoring children and adolescents
- Kinship Mentor Training
- Stephen Ministry Leadership Training
- Mental Health and Spiritual Direction Training.
We will conduct the Kinship Mentor Training in February 2020. David and Karen Downing of Kinship Partners have volunteered to do this. We need transportation expenses.
We will have two people attend the Stephen Ministry Leadership Training. Jerry will attend with Collin Jackson, the local SVG coordinator for our mentoring programs. These are volunteer positions, but transportation, fees, and tuition are needed.
We've trained many teachers at 5 schools and 3 homes for children. Here are some of our accomplishments to date:
Training Orphanage Workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (The original article from 2017)
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 assist 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.