Starting today, July 15th, VF Inc will be holding its 11th Annual Youth Series at the Diosceson Pastoral Center in Morne Bruce.
The series runs from 8am – 4pm daily until July 18th and customarily ends with the hike on the Waitukubuli trail and picnic. Families are encouraged to come along as this serves as an opportunity for family bonding according to Dr. Valda Henry, CEO of VF Inc.
This year, the series is held under the theme “Encouraging our Youth for a Better Tomorrow” with the sub theme “Bouncing Back.” There will be time devoted everyday to the exploration of these themes. This is fitting as there was no Youth Series last year due to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Though registration was slower than previous years, Dr. Henry does not anticipate any drastic effects on the program. She explained that she has received many student and parent volunteers and is continuing to receive the support of regular participants. She also revealed that while there was a decline in corporate sponsors, the number of individual sponsors has skyrocketed.
“The students need a break. They spend an entire year doing Math and English. And that is not what we do here,” Dr.Henry said.
She went on to explain that the series focuses a lot on helping students find their purpose and sense of self.
“We want our students to positively influence each other and help those who have not yet found their paths do so,” Dr. Henry explained. She adds that she encourages her facilitators to focus on the good where her participants are concerned and to adopt the mentality that no child is irredeemable.
In addition to exploring the themes, participants will be going out on field trips, taking part in talks/ discussions mainly led by young people; a notable example being a talk by a young prisoner to encourage and influence the students to not go down the wrong path. One of the highlights will be the creation of a walking mural by participants.
“We want our participants to have the freedom of expression. It is entirely in their hands,” says Dr.Henry.
She has teamed up with Waitukubuli Artist to make this possible. There will also be programs customized for the participants to give them security in sense of self.
Dr.Henry can confidently say that her program does not end with the summer.
“My students know that they always have a home at VF Inc and that they can always come back.” she expressed.
She also stated that she believes that it is the love the students receive that keeps them coming back.