At-risk youth around the region will get more opportunities to upgrade their skills and find an outlet for their energies as the local YMCAs around the region step up their programmes despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
YMCA officials from six countries in the region recently came together to discuss their plans and share stories with representatives from CIBC FirstCaribbean during a virtual ceremony for the official signing of a second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations.
The MOU, between the bank and the Latin American and Caribbean Alliance of YMCAs will cover a period of three years from July 2021 to July 2023 and will total US $150,000 to be delivered in three (3) tranches.
The YMCAs in Barbados, Aruba, Grand Bahama, Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are the beneficiaries of the bank’s support.
As part of the scope of the MOU, it is designed to enhance the YMCA after school programmes and experiences for children and youth in the Caribbean as well as advance Corporate Volunteerism and
Social Responsibility among the employees of the bank.
The Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA in Trinidad and Tobago Odetta Alexander explained that since the pandemic hit, they had to go online with many of their classes, which would have previously catered mainly to youth in the immediate area and surrounding districts.
Since going online, she confirmed that the numbers in their classes had doubled and people as far as Tobago and the deep south of the island had been able to participate.
Going forward, they will keep the blended approach to learning for their participants and continue to include online classes, even when the pandemic has passed.
In Barbados, the after-school programme had been working well and assisting parents who had difficulty directing children with online learning.
President Carlos Moore and general secretary Shae Greenidge both agreed that it was also important to create a safe space for the youth in the City in Barbados and thanked CIBC FirstCaribbean for the financial support to help the YMCA do this.
In her remarks to the group, Colette Delaney, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank, said she was delighted to partner with the group and thanked them for their “life-changing work” across the region.
She underscored the importance of the work which they were doing especially following the sense of loss that many young people feel as the pandemic continues.
She stressed that the work of the YMCA must continue because it was important for the health and well-being of the youth of the region.
She also complimented the various teams on doing things in different ways in order to expand their programmes to reach out even further to the youth despite the pandemic. (PR)