President: YWCA needs your help


The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is desirous of expanding its Breakfast Club Programme.
President of the YWCA, Tamita Griffith, said that since coming into existence nine years ago, the programme has gone from serving a nutritious breakfast to 30 children, to providing that meal for in excess of 1 300 children. This, Griffith stated, is testimony to the fact that there is a growing need for this service offered by the YWCA.
“We recognise that this probably is the result of the economic challenges facing the country and the fact that so many of our households are headed mostly by women who are unemployed or underemployed. And so over the years, we have established satellite centres in various parts of the island to ensure our children have access to that most important meal of the day,” she indicated during an interview with The Barbados Advocate.
The YWCA president said that at present there are eight centres, including the Association’s Deacons Farm headquarters, and they hope to set up a similar centre in the north of the island in the not too distant future. She admitted that this has been a goal of the Association for a few years now, but explained that limited finances have prevented them from bringing it to fruition. Griffith explained that not only would they need the food items to prepare the meals, but they would also require a location that can facilitate a kitchen and the other requirements stipulated by the Ministry of Health. With that in mind, the president said they will be exploring the possibility, and if all goes well, it can be in place for the next academic year.
Griffith’s comments came as she said that corporate Barbados has been supportive of the Breakfast Club Programme, and they receive monetary and in-kind donations from individuals as well. But, she said given the growing number of children to which they cater, they can never have too much and additional support is always welcome.
Meanwhile, touching on the Association’s Reading Club Programme, she issued a call for more persons to volunteer to assist with that initiative. That programme, which attracts more than 30 students every Saturday when school is in session, is desperately in need of more persons, including men, to lend a hand, she stated. 
The YWCA head added that even if persons cannot volunteer their time, they can also make donations to the programme in cash or kind to ensure its long- term viability. She made the point while revealing that at present the programme is facilitated by a small team of volunteers, but this prevents them from being able to offer individual attention to students who require it. 
“We have been appealing via social media and other avenues for volunteers, because some of our children need that one-on-one help, and with only five consistent volunteers it is hard to facilitate that,” she stated.
Griffith is hoping that when the programme recommences on September 17, they can have at least double the current number of volunteers to assist children with not only developing good reading skills, but completing homework and learning new skills. 
“When school starts back we want to see something fresh. We don’t only want to focus on their reading or helping them with their homework, one of the things I want to do is to engage them in other activities, such as craft, painting and music, to keep them excited about coming back, and it may be a more engaging avenue through which they can learn,” she said.
The YWCA President made the point as she noted that to commemorate Child Month this year, they took the participants of the programme on a tour of Harrison’s Cave and they are hoping to do similar tours in the future, as such activities are good teaching and learning experiences. With that in mind, she expressed appreciation to a number of entertainers, including Mikey and Kirk Brown, who have partnered with the Association to raise their profile and assist with fund-raising activities, but who have also volunteered with the Reading Club. (JRT)

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