Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 23rd 2013 Contents A36
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The T&T Guardian highlighted the work of the
NGO, It s For The Kids Foundation in 2011, when
they hosted a massive charity scavenger hunt to
raise funds for the refurbishment of the St Dominic s
Orphanage in Belmont.
The ten-member group led by investment analyst,
Stephanie Pemberton, is made up of young profes-
sionals, who over the past two years have been going
on various fund-raising drives to lend assistance to
community residences. In nearly three years, the
NGO has also embarked on outreach programmes
to raise awareness on the need for role models and
support systems for displaced children in society.
This year through its mentorship programme it
will be shedding some light on mental health as it
relates to "at-risk" children that have been assigned
to institutionalised care.
Mentorship director for the group, psychotherapist
Stacey Camacho said they were currently still working
with the St Dominic s orphanage which has had a
successful mentorship programme despite a few chal-
"It is always difficult to get volunteers but we have
managed to get many to act as mentors at the orphan-
age," said Camacho.
She explained the members of the NGO are not
the physical mentors and role models who facilitate
the mentorship programme, rather it is made up of
volunteers from within the community.
"The awareness campaigns that we host are to
encourage members of various communities to get
actively involved in mentoring these kids," added
She said all mentors must complete a training pro-
gramme which she facilitates herself. According to
her, there are specific guidelines, ethics, duties and
responsibilities that mentors must follow or adhere
to, once becoming a mentor.
Camacho who has been affiliated with the orphan-
age since 2002, said mentors are also educated on
the psychological issues that affect children.
She said in an interview that the programme looks
at breaking vicious cycles like teenage pregnancy,
substance abuse, gang violence, and other issues.
Camacho who will be handing over her portfolio
to mentorship counsellor Sasha James, as she is soon
to migrate, said what is also good about the
mentorship programme is that each child
receives individual attention.
"There are about 100 children at the
orphanage receiving mentorship right now.
We have matched this number in regards
to mentors. Each child has the opportunity
of being mentored individually---it is a one
on one intervention," she said.
Explaining how the process works, Cama-
cho said a mentor will meet with a child
once a week to assess his development or
to work on whatever issues are affecting
"The goal of the programme is not only
to prevent further problems within the youth
of our country, but to empower each child
to create a happy life for themselves. The
mentors are trained to not only support
these kids but to be role models in helping
them develop the necessary life skills and
self-esteem to be happy and successful in
life. And to have a voice to tell their own
individual life stories," said Camacho.
"You know we always complain about
the crime the government, and everything
else, but if we only realise the power is
in us to create change, we would try to
make a difference.
"If we mentor one child, we can make
such a difference," Camacho concluded.
The group will also be hosting a colour
run on August 24 to continue raising aware-
ness on mental health for displaced children.
Registration closes on July 20.
• For more information on the NGO
and the colour run, send emails to:
email@example.com, visit their
Facebook page - It's for the Kids or
visit the Web site
Mentoring youth brings social benefit to country
The members of the It s for the Kids Foundation
want to get more active participation from the
general public in order to improve the lives of
children. The group organises and recruits vol-
unteers, holds fund-raising events, and plays an
active role in every project it undertakes.
The organisation believes that changing the
lives of children does not entail only handing
over tangible things.
They believe that, "through the intangible we
hope to encourage all volunteers to use their time
and talents in any way that they can, to contribute
to making a difference. From visiting the home
and planning field trips to organising events and
fund-raisers, we aim to make volunteering a fun
task for people of all ages. It is our hope that
the It s for the Kids Foundation will provide a
great social benefit to our country of T&T."
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