Tue | Nov 28, 2023

St Ann community supports its own recovery

Published:Wednesday | January 19, 2022 | 12:07 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Rose-Ann Virgo (second left) and the team that held the parenting forum.
Rose-Ann Virgo (second left) and the team that held the parenting forum.

Following an incident where a young child was sexually assaulted by two minors in a St Ann community last year, two ladies who hail from the community returned to their roots to assist parents in the district overcome the trauma.

A parenting forum, planned and coordinated by iBelieve Ambassador and HEART NSTA Trust employee, Rose-Ann Virgo, in conjunction with Marcia Parkes, CEO of the USA-based charity Mode-de-Vie, was held to enlighten participants on various parenting skills and educational opportunities.

Both ladies grew up in the community and were only too happy to return to give back.

According to Virgo, “The session was hosted as an initial start to a series of activities in taking a proactive approach to help residents of the community on improving parenting skills, on being aware of the Sexual Offences Act and the charges associated with it, and learning about opportunities available through HEART NSTA Trust.”

The event, held under the theme ‘It Still Takes a Village to Raise a Child’, was staged in partnership with community stakeholders, and took place at the nearby church.

Participants, comprising 42 adults, inclusive of nine males, along with 21 children, came from several communities across the parish.

Among the presenters were Kashelie Hardware, of the St Ann Justice Centre, who spoke on the role of restorative justice in difficult situations; Wallycinth Ellis-Laing, of HEART NSTA, who focused on parental influence and career choice; and Alverna McKenzie, also of the HEART NSTA, who gave an overview of programmes offered by the training agency.


Participants were also treated to a surprise encouragement and success story session by Alethia O’Hara Stephenson, president of Dufferin County Canadian Black Association, TV host, author and motivational speaker.

Parkes used the opportunity to present two tablet computers to two participants in the forum.

One participant, Lorace Stephenson, told The Gleaner that the forum was appreciated and suggested a continuation of similar events.

“It was a warm, emotional, heartfelt session,” Stephenson said.

“Most times, children’s behaviour is the reflection of poor parental upbringing. The relevant authority should visit districts and have workshops to motivate parents and thus promote good values, morals and attitude for nation-building,” she added.

Stephenson also blamed neglectful parents for the breakdown in society and the rough times being faced by children.

Meanwhile, Virgo hailed the forum as a success.

“It was indeed a successful session, as we saw over 40 parents/guardians attending and remaining for the entire day’s activities,” said Virgo.