After all the formal speeches, Department Heads Aida Holaman and Shermina Powell, as they phrased it ‘got real’ with the students. Aida Holaman emphasized that the students present are setting the trend for the next generations to follow – ‘what you do and how you embrace this opportunity will pave the way for your younger brother, sister, or cousin’.
\Another important message to the students was to remember that the people they will meet in our community are opening their homes to them, and they must remember to treat them as if they were their mother, grandmother, uncle, or neighbor. The students were reminded that this is an opportunity for their future, and the team at CDFHA and Youth Affairs will be there to support them through it.
She also gave special recognition to the three (3) young ladies who are part of the project regarding women in the technical field. In closing Aida was also the voice of the seniors and physically challenged and thanked all collaborators, on behalf of these two target groups for this great initiative, as they were extremely grateful to benefit from such an initiative as they so often expressed feelings of being forgotten by members of the St. Maarten community.
In an invited comment Minister Silveria Jacobs stated, “Opportunities for education to meet the labor needs are always promoted and appreciated. This is truly a great example of Education on the Move initiated by the Ministry VSA. I encourage the students to make great use of this opportunity, as it connects the youth to community involvement. The students will gain the experience of giving back to a greater cause to those who are in much need of the help. Much thanks and gratitude to the business community and contractors for giving back to the community and promoting education through work experience! Inter-ministerial collaboration creates tangible results. I’d also like to thank the management, faculty and staff of the various schools and staff of the Department of Youth for assisting in this year’s BOPP program and safeguarding opportunities for all students”.
After this pilot, the Ministry of VSA hopes to be able to showcase what can be done with limited resources and a lot of good will. Minister Lee stated that he had one regret, which was he wished there was more money so we could help more people, however he re-emphasized his commitment to continue to seek support from within Government and from the business community in terms of construction material, discounts, etc. to make sure this project may continue and more people can be helped.