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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt February 1, 2015
Rising in the
By Onika Nkrumah-Lakhan
AVERNEL GREENIDGE IS a well-spoken, knowledgeable, slightly talka-
tive, bubbly personality; her excitement about philanthropy and commu-
nity activism is evident in her enthusiasm and eagerness to inform me
all about her organization.
SEPOS Cultural Workshop Inc. was founded in 1988 by her uncle,
Michael Morgan, a social activist who, having come from the much-ma-
ligned area of East Port of Spain, recognized the importance of giving
back to his community. And so SEPOS, with its involvement in culture,
development and community outreach, was born. What began as a
small effort in an old, wooden structure eventually grew into what it is
today, a well-respected organization known both at home and abroad
for its community outreach. In December 2014, another arm of the or-
ganization, called SEPOS Academy of the Arts, was formed.
Greenidge is the director of SEPOS Academy of the Arts, and a program
coordinator at SEPOS Cultural Workshop Inc. She's also a Theatre Arts
teacher by occupation, majoring in Psychology and Special Education,
and a certified Human Resource Management professional. All these
accomplishments at the tender age of twenty four, and although she is
not a resident of East Port of Spain, Greenidge is proving to the partici-
pants that great things can come from behind the bridge!
WOW -- Tell us about the courses offered at SEPOS.
Our creative programs include Theatre Arts, Visual Arts, Dance & Music,
Sound Recording & Production, Radio Announcing, and Videography. We
have a film production studio, workshop in costume design, wire bend-
ing/traditional mas, etc. We offer a Computer Literacy, Entrepreneurship
and Life Skills program. We have a host of activities, and new ones are
being added regularly.
WOW -- What are some of the other community-based services of-
fered by SEPOS?
SEPOS offers temporary shelter for persons who may have been
evicted from rental properties; we can currently accommodate five fami-
lies at a given time. We are also a part of the community service proba-
tion. So probation officers will refer persons to complete their
community service. We monitor their progress and attendance. We
have a Motivational Youth Club, which constitutes the youth arm of the
organization, promoting social, educational and sporting activities. Sport-
ing activities include amateur boxing, draughts, table tennis, and sports
Other services include annual and monthly clothing and hamper distribu-
tion, a homework centre, agro-processing projects, vocational skills train-
ing via industry placement, welfare and social services for senior citizens,
counselling, and temporary shelter for the less fortunate members of
WOW -- Have you been able to see tangible results from the efforts of
SEPOS within the community?
Yes, our programs are well-subscribed and many graduates from our
certified programs have been able to gain employment in their fields of
endeavour. Additionally, the community is an at-risk community, often
when incidents occur, the media are unwilling to cover events. Partici-
pants in our videography program have been able to fill this gap, by film-
ing the events as they unfold and making the footage available to the
WOW -- How did the SEPOS Academy of the Arts emerge?
SEPOS Academy of the Arts was formed to expand the artistic and de-
velopmental services that we offer. Previously, those artistic-based
courses were infrequent, maybe once or twice yearly. Now our programs
are institutionalized and we can offer courses on a regular basis. The
Academy was launched last December at the SEPOS facility, located at
39 Piccadilly Street, Port-of-Spain.
The Academy offers both creative and developmental courses, and
caters for participants 16 years and over. Upon completion at the Acad-
emy, students will be awarded a Caribbean Vocational Certificate or Cer-
tificate of Completion and have the opportunity for Internship and job
placement. Through SEPOS, the Academy is a certified entity with the
National Registry of Artists and Cultural Workers, as well as an affiliated
body with the National Training Agency of Trinidad and Tobago.
SEPOS' mission is to be "innovative in uplifting community members
through cultural, educational, spiritual and creative mediums, for those
who have lost hope". I am very impressed by the emphasis placed on the
spirituality aspect of a person's development. There is a Vacation Bible
School (VBS) for the children, Thanksgiving functions, etc. Looking at a
video of a Pastor praying with the children was a real tearjerker. Every
child is born with a purpose and potential; their bright, smiling faces re-
minded me that if society sees a child as he should be, he will become
what he can be!
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