Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 21, 2018 (SKNIS): Forty-six students from the Cotton Thomas Comprehensive School spent Wednesday morning (November 21) at the New Road Family Park as the Department of Youth Empowerment hosted its 3rd Annual Fun Day for the Differently Abled.
The activity is one of the events for Youth Month 2018, which is celebrated annually in November.
Youth Officer in the Department of Youth Empowerment, Suelika Creque organized the Fun Day. This is her second year as lead coordinator. She said that the event gives the students an opportunity to have a good time at the park with their friends. The youth officer added that the annual visit is often the only time that many students actually go to enjoy the play facility.
Ms. Creque said the activity sends a strong message to the general public.
“Sometimes society stigmatizes these children as being children who we really cannot teach anything to, but from what I have learnt last year [during] my interaction with them, these children are wonderful, they are full of chats (talkative), they are funny and make me laugh,” she said. “I always have a good time with them and I love to be around them because I also learn from them.”
Local Soca artiste Rucas HE passed by the Family Park and was inspired by the wit and joviality of the children. He gave an impromptu performance, which added to the excitement of the day for the children.
Ms. Creque, a former model, incorporated a basic session in modelling for the students to learn. Shadan Warner of Shadan Productions also worked with the students to teach them a little about photography. Ms. Warner took photos of the students as they practiced walking on the runway.
“It was all in good fun,” Ms. Creque said, adding that it came with an inspirational life lesson.
“Modelling gives you a sense of confidence, a sense of purpose and helps to develop or add to your self-esteem,” she stated.
Some of the students, aged 8 to 18 years, displayed that sense of confidence as they agreed to participate in a video interview, something that a lot of adults shy away from doing.
One of the students, Jumarrio Nisbett, said that he liked the photography session and recalled his father’s words when talking about his experience dealing with people. “Ain’ everybody is perfect,” he said, adding that no one knows what he goes through.
Another student, Alessa Frederick, attended the event last year and said that she was happy to be back in 2018. “I like the swings, and you giving me jokes,” she told Ms. Creque. The teenaged girl said that she also remembers the advice shared in 2017: be nice to others.
Student Rasheed Warner shared: “I love this park. I wish every Friday we can come up here and have some fun.”
Youth Officer Suelika Creque thanked the Department of Social Services and Community Affairs, as well as Shaddan Warner and others for contributing to the success of the event. She encouraged members of the public to “try and spend some time with these children because you will be touched.”
The positive engagement with differently abled youth is reflected primarily in two Priority Goals outlined in the St. Kitts and Nevis Federal Youth Policy, 2017-2022. These are: Goal 2 – Human Rights and Gender Equality, as well as Goal 3 – Social Cohesion, Belonging, and Patriotism.