A charity helpline in the name of prominent children’s advocate Faith Marshall-Harris is partnering with the Grantley Adams Memorial School to work with its 14 to 15-year-old students.
The Faith Marshall Harris Sandy Lane Charitable Trust Help Line has adopted the third form group at Grantley Adams Memorial in an effort to influence students positively and reduce the risk of deviance among the youngsters, the UNICEF children’s rights activist revealed today.
She also announced plans to revive the St Joseph high school’s parent-teachers association.
Marshall Harris said the relationship between Help Line and the school was starting with a summer camp for 50 students, Camp Inspire, to take place from August 12 to 23.
At a news conference held at her 10th Avenue, Belleville, St Michael office, Marshall-Harris said the camp, which is designed to expose children to a number of motivational sessions, would address topics such as conflict resolution, anger management, drug awareness, and health and nutrition while also offering fun activities.
Marshall-Harris told reporters: “Apart from the camp, we also plan during the school year, continuing our adoption of the third year, to do a programme of two lessons per week where we provide the resource persons to conduct those lessons for students between the age range of 14 to 15, pursuing the same sort of topics that we envisage they need for diversion and repurpose.
“We are going to identify children that need back to school packages. We understand that there are some children that could benefit from our breakfast programme and even an evening meal programme.
“We hope also to assist the school in re-launching a PTA.”
Acting Principal Major Andrew Skeete said the initiative was coming at a time the school was looking to develop the social and emotional traits of its junior school students.
“I look forward in anticipation to a very successful and fruitful partnership with the Trust as we look to do what we think is necessary and beneficial and something that we have to do to assist our children, in this instance at the Grantley Adams Memorial School,” Major Skeete said.
The former head of the Barbados Family Planning Association George Griffith, the newly-appointed chairman of the school’s board of management, said he was pleased that Harris and the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust showed an interest in the school, and committed the board’s support to ensure that the initiative was a success.
Griffith said that while concerns have been raised over behavioural issues at the school, he noted a considerable improvement in the atmosphere at the rural school since Major Skeete took up the post of acting principal.
He said: “I would not be going far enough if I say that stability had been returned to the school. There has been an atmosphere of purpose and co-operation among both staff and students.
“I am very happy about that. The members of the Board of Management are very enthusiastic about the opportunities that this initiative could bring to the school.”
The helpline was launched in April to deliver direct help to children up to age 18. The hotline receives calls of distress and concern from children and about children, and calls for help from children, their parents, guardians, extended families, neighbours, communities, schools, churches, and anyone concerned about children’s welfare. (AH)