The group which is known as SOYAR, (Saving Our Youth at Risk) said it is committed to initiating a positive social change by engaging the youth in the Saddlers and neighbouring communities.
One of the first activities of their program of change was a workshop for teenage mothers, held on Wednesday 11th May, 2011 at the Saddlers Primary School, under the theme, “Empowering Women to Become Better Parents”.
According to an official of the organization, the workshop was very well attended by the young mothers in the community who all shared their experiences and dialogued with the speaker, Mrs. Kimmoy Henry-Brathwaite, who is also a member of S.O.Y.A.R.
The official said that Mrs. Brathwaite, a successful young lady, who spoke not only in her capacity as a member of the organization, but also as a previous teenage mother, emphasized the importance of proper parenting and the different ways it can contribute to a better society .
To better relate to the teens, she reminisced about her experience while being a teenage mother, emphasizing the many adversities she encountered as she felt confused and all alone during that time. She further explained that although a few members of the community assisted her during that period, she was very disappointed in herself as the completion of her academic career was never achieved. Still filled with a sense of optimism, she then capitalized on a silver lining which has awarded her the opportunity to be a senior employee at the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board today.
During her interaction, Mrs. Brathwaite is said to have stressed the fact that young women are to protect themselves at every cost, to prevent another unplanned pregnancy. Different methods were discussed and the ladies welcomed the information. To demonstrate their agreement with what was said, the young women began to openly express their feelings about teenage pregnancy as they discussed the difficult moments and the very few pleasant moments of being a mother.
Although the atmosphere felt relaxing and welcoming to converse, a few participants seemed emotionally stunned as reality seemed to be their closest companion during the session. However, they were all encouraged to continue their educational journey and become successful, well-rounded individuals as education has been one of the few resources readily available for the alleviation of unplanned teenage pregnancy and to an extent, poverty.
“When will we be meeting again?” were the words echoed amongst the group of females. Such remark was enough evidence which proved that such dialogue was very inspirational and appreciated by those who were present. As a result, it was agreed that successive sessions of such nature will continue on a monthly basis to keep abreast with the different progresses made by the teen mothers.
Special thanks must be extended to Mrs. Natalie Brown of First Class Jewelry who provided gifts for each of the ladies who were present at the proceedings. Additionally, to Doctor Laws who has offered his services to assist the babies of the participants with free medical care for a specified period of time. S.O.Y.A.R is very grateful to these individuals and would also like to take the opportunity to welcome other teen mothers who were not present at the first workshop. This workshop is the very first of a series of workshops that is being organized by the youth movement that will tailor to the different needs of the youths in and around the Saddlers community.
On Saturday 7th May, S.O.Y.A.R also launched study groups for children of the Saddlers Primary School to assist those who will be engaged in Test of Standards in June, 2011. The study group received an overwhelming response and the members would like to say special thanks to the parents for allowing their children to attend these sessions. These groups will be held every Saturday at the Primary School from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. Additionally, the youth movement recently donated $1,000.00 E.C. to the Saddlers Primary School to assist with the renovation of the school’s kitchen area. This initiative gained much appreciation from not just the teachers and students of who will be direct beneficiaries but from the community at large.
An official of S.O.Y.A.R said they stand dedicated to positively inspire our youths to refrain from social ills thus making a positive contribution to nation building as their aim is not only to build a superior Saddlers Village but also a superior St. Kitts & Nevis.