CIBC FirstCaribbean support for causes to benefit scores of youth
As part of its commitment to developing the potential of young people, a leading commercial bank has contributed financially to several causes which will benefit scores of youth across Barbados.
CIBC FirstCaribbean recently donated funds which will enhance therapy for autistic children and provide an enhanced learning environment at a rural primary school. The funds will also help to engage young people in organic farming and encourage others to be more service oriented.
Commenting on the bank’s continued support for causes involving young people, Donna Wellington, Managing Director for Barbados and OECS operations said that the decision to do so was an easy one. “Our interest in young people is as strong as ever. By investing in them, especially in developmental initiatives, we’re contributing to a brighter future within the communities we serve.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados is a youth development and award programme. With assistance from the bank, a contingent of 18 young people from Barbados including four leaders, are being outfitted for a regional camp in July in Grenada. There, participants will complete a four-day hike to qualify for gold and silver awards in the ‘adventurous journey’ component.
Operations Manager of the award, Carla Alleyne said that hiking was “a fantastic team building tool for participants. They learn how to manage themselves in stressful situations. And when you look at the wider awards programme you’re creating a better citizen for the country.”
In thanking the bank for its contribution, Ms. Alleyne said: “Every year we try to have a contingent t-shirt. This time CIBC FirstCaribbean will be showcased. Their contribution is a great help and provides a reduction in costs that we would have had to look for at the office and individual level.”
Ms. Alleyne, who has gone through the award programme, described its impact on her life. “It helped me develop confidence, in speaking and expressing myself as well as in team-working abilities.”
She also said that support of activities such as the award, scouting and cadets could help develop a stronger sense of identity among youth and prepare them for a smoother transition to adulthood. “We seldom see participants of the award programme finding themselves in trouble. They are too busy working on the awards to get in trouble. So we urge Barbadians to give it a try and together we can help develop the next generation.”
More4Kids Barbados is also seeking to develop potential, through offering much-needed therapy to young children with autism. The charity which is just under a year old has started an initiative to cover the cost of therapy for one year for four children between the ages of four and six. “This is a crucial stage at which to make an intervention because the children are more likely to make bigger jumps and progress at that age,” explained Natasha Heaselgrave, founder and occupational therapist.
In April, which was Autism Month, the children were able to receive 20 hours of therapy and Ms. Heaselgrave said the impact was “huge“. She added, “Increasing the hours of therapy for the kids is life changing. Before they were getting anywhere between four to six hours a week but going forward, over the longer term, we want to at least double that.”
The occupational therapist also expressed “huge thanks” to CIBC FirstCaribbean for its financial assistance. “The donation has added to what we’re able to do and we’re definitely using it to improve the quality of life for these kids. Two of them are in school and their teachers have already seen dramatic changes in how they pay attention, finish their work and follow instructions.”
The St. Jude’s Primary School PTA was also thankful to the bank for its donation of seven standing fans to help cool the school and its nursery. Nicole Herbert, vice-president said she was very grateful for the consideration given by the bank. “We’re a small school, with a roll of 250 students. The school does well academically but it really needs assistance. We acknowledge that we can’t rely on the government for everything so kudos to CIBC FirstCaribbean for helping us to create a cool environment that is more conducive to learning.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean also made presentations to the Whim Outreach Programme, which aims to train young people to perform voluntary service, as well as Mount Wilton Eco-Tourism Association Inc. for a water pump for farming project in which young people will grow organic crops.