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2013

03 September 2013
For the fourth year in a row, REACH Grenada sponsored a summer camp for the children of the Queen Elizabeth Home, Bel Air Home and Emergency Shelter in Grenada. This year’s camp, conducted by local artist Ms. Stacey Byer, focused on art as a means of fostering creativity and self-expression. REACH Grenada’s 2013 Summer Art Camp was a two-week program that benefitted approximately 50 children between the ages of two and eighteen, with classes conducted once a week at each home.

The primary goal of REACH Grenada’s 2013 Summer Art Camp was to give children fun opportunities to express themselves through art. Through this process, REACH hoped that the children would gain tools for expressing their emotions, exploring their cultural identity and improving their interpersonal skills as they worked both together and individually.

Much of the camp’s curriculum focused on exploring new art materials while expressing themselves in a fun interactive way. One exercise, The Paper Roll Castle, involved building a cardboard and paper roll castle with detachable turrets and an open/close doorway. The children were then guided to create people and animals to populate the castle. This project was a huge hit among the younger groups, as the kids were very attentive and excited to make their own paper roll people. One of the boys drew a dragon while another insisted that the castle have a Grenadian King! This project brought out critical thinking skills in the younger children.



The Paper Roll Castle Exercise
 
Another popular project was the Mask Making Project. In this exercise children were given free range to draw out any ideas that they wanted, including comic book characters, tattoo art and mythical creatures. Many of the older children really excelled in their creativity for creating masks. Exploring their Grenadian culture, some of the masks referenced Jab Jab and the Carnival celebration being held on the island. In order to make their masks, children had to plan out their work to figure out how to best shape their designs to suit their artistic visions. It was also an excellent opportunity for the children to use critical thinking skills to work out their artist processes.
 
 


Bel Air Resident Showing Off Her Mask
 
REACH Grenada would like to thank Ms. Stacey Byer for lending her time and talent to make the 2013 summer camp such a great success. REACH Grenada looks forward to bringing similar programming back to the children of Grenada in the summer of 2014.



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19 June 2013



Reach Within was honored to be featured in the Lifestyle section of Hamptons Magazine's June 2013 issue. The article, by contributor Chiara Ferragamo, details the writer's involvement with the organization, dating back to its REACH Grenada origins. The article also spotlights Reach Within's inaugural Summer Soiree, which was held on Saturday June 15, 2013. As Chiara writes:

"I was so moved by Karen’s efforts that I felt the need to contribute. We are aiming to expand this network of healing, starting right here on the East End [of Long Island]. With Karen as a member of the Shelter Island community, we hope launching Reach Within at Summer Soirée will raise awareness and funds for the organization and incite others out East to do their utmost to further this cause. Karen and I believe that Shelter Island is a supportive community that will be willing to pitch in—I have already donated a number of prizes for the event’s auction."

We thank Chiara for her overwhelming support and we thank Hamptons Magazine for shining the spotlight on our organization. 

Click here to read the full article from Hamptons Magazine.



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07 March 2013
Following its agreement with Mr. Kallan Simon, Child Proection Authority Director, in spring 2012, REACH Grenada at St. Georges University is proud to be delivering caregiver education for Child Protection Authority (CPA) personnel in 2013. This training series, part of the Reach Within model of care, is built around the world-renowned program Conscious Discipline®, developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, and adapted for caregivers of children in institutional and foster care settings. The year-long trainings will be facilitated by Reach Grenada’s Program Director, Dr. Barbara Landon of SGU, who has worked with Dr. Bailey and taught Conscious Discipline for 15 years.

Launched in March 2012, REACH Grenada’s Caregiver Training Program is both didactic and experiential, offering trainees ample opportunities to practice the new skills in each session. Moreover, each training consists of an accompanying coaching session, wherein RG coaches make monthly site visits to ensure lesson comprehension and implementation. RG’s lead coaches for this program are Ms. Lorna Douglas, who will focus on Father Mallagan Home for Boys, and Ms. Lauren Orlando, who will focus on the Emergency Shelter.


REACH Grenada Caregiver Training for CPA Workers at SGU 



REACH Grenada’s Caregiver Training sessions will be held on Monday mornings, 9:30-AM to noon at St. George’s University. The training sessions will cover topics such as “Becoming Brain Smart,” “Composure,” “Encouragement,” and “Assertiveness.” All materials, including a workbook, child-appropriate storybooks, and Conscious Discipline® materials will be provided to care homes by REACH Grenada.

REACH Grenada is proud to extend its training series to CPA personnel. We look forward to partnering with CPA in our collective efforts to improve the lives of the children in the custody of CPA, as well as their caregivers, counselors, caseworkers, and other members of the Grenadian community.

Stay tuned and please visit our Facebook page for more information about these and other exciting training events!

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31 January 2013
Dust your running sneakers off!

REACH Grenada has received 25 slots for the 2013 ING NYC Marathon on November 3, 2013. Now's the perfect time to apply before you miss out. Slots are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and we would love to have you on this year's team. If you cannot run this year, but know someone who would be interested in joining the team, please refer them to our marathon webpage.

Get 2013 off on the right foot...and then the left foot, and on and on until you cross the finish line in November!

There's no time like the present! Join REACH Grenada's 2013 ING NYC Marathon team now!

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02 January 2013
REACH Grenada was happy to celebrate a successful 2012 and looks forward to continuing the good work in 2013. In 2012, we deepened our programming: trained more caregivers, taught more children at more homes and reached more children through our annual summer dance camp. We also connected mentors with children in care homes and worked to help abused and abandoned children find inner calm and strength. We are also proud to have forged stronger relationships with our partners, St. George's University (SGU) and Gnosis Chocolate. Below are some of the snapshots of 2012.


 
In 2013, we hope to spread our work even further and continue to develop our strategic alliance with SGU. REACH has big plans on the horizon for 2013 including: holding the first-ever island-wide training session for care home staff and Child Protection Authority workers, organizing a conference on trauma for internationally acclaimed scholars and therapists, enhancing the REACH Within curriculum being delivered to the children, and expanding our programming so we may extend our work outside of Grenada. With your support, the sky is the limit!

We truly value your support. If you have not already done so, please encourage your friends and family to follow us on Facebook. Give us a "Like" by visiting our Facebook Page. Please keep checking in to learn more about our plans for 2013.
 


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2012

07 November 2012
Dear Valued Supporter,

We would like to thank you once again for your kind and generous donation to REACH Grenada’s marathon fundraising campaign.

As you know, many people were disappointed by Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to cancel the 2012 ING NYC Marathon due to the unfortunate tragedy of Hurricane Sandy. We would like to note that REACH Grenada feels that it was a reasonable and necessary humanitarian response to redirect all marathon resources to the relief effort.

The ING NYC Marathon is our charity’s principal fundraising campaign each year. We too share the disappointment of this cancellation, as we have not met our fundraising target this year. The “final push” of contributions typically occurs during and just after the race. We are, however, optimistic about the upcoming year despite the short fall.

We would like to assure you that every dollar that you have contributed will go directly to the vulnerable children whom we serve in Grenada, and not to administrative or overhead costs. We are confident that we will continue to effect positive change despite this setback. It is poignant to note that REACH Grenada’s work began by rebuilding schools destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in 2005. As a result of this work, we discovered the vulnerable population of abused and abandoned children who live in care homes across the island.

Thank you again for supporting REACH Grenada. We deeply appreciate all who have supported our mission. Please contact us at info@reachgrenada.org or by calling (212) 605-0281, with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely yours,

Karen Lawson
Co-Founder, REACH Grenada

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03 September 2012
For the third year in a row, REACH Grenada sponsored a summer camp for the children of the Queen Elizabeth Home, Bel Air Home and Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center. This year’s camp, conducted by volunteers Lisa Kasimow and Ashley Richmond, focused on dance and music as healing art forms for children dealing with prior adversity. REACH Grenada’s 2012 Dance & Music Camp was a four-week program that benefitted approximately 40 children between the ages of two and eighteen, with classes conducted twice a week at each home.

The primary goal of REACH Grenada’s 2012 Dance & Music Camp was to give children opportunities to connect to their senses by exploring their own sounds and movement. Through this process, REACH hoped that the children would gain tools to self-regulate their own emotions and improve their interpersonal skills as they work together as a community.

Much of the camp’s curriculum focused on action, quality and level of movement, as well as building a clear dance and musical vocabulary. Another component of the curriculum utilized Gabrielle Roth’s well-known “5Rhythms.” Through various daily movement exercises, the children were able to feel the contrast of the 5Rhythms such as “flowing” and “staccato” in their bodies. By the end of the month, the campers were able to dance the different rhythms very easily!

The importance of practice was also a key theme throughout the camp. Taking Grenadian gold medalist Kirani James as their inspiration, the campers frequently discussed what it means to be a champion and how one needs to set goals and practice working toward those goals everyday. As Lisa and Ashley put it:

“We wanted the kids to understand the idea that we practice things to make ourselves better at them. Movement and song are great examples of how repetition makes you stronger, clearer, and more comfortable in your own skin.”

Besides playing fun dance games like Storm Dance, Champion and Pathways, the campers also got the chance to show off their musical talents by singing songs at the close of each class. Songs like Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and Bob Marley’s “One Love,” were special favorites among children from all three of the homes.

REACH Grenada would like to thank Lisa and Ashley for volunteering their time and lending their talents to make the 2012 summer camp such a huge success. REACH Grenada looks forward to bringing similar programming back to the children of Grenada in the summer of 2013.

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01 August 2012
2012 marks the expansion of REACH Grenada’s REACH Within youth program to four care homes in Grenada; The Queen Elizabeth Home for Children, The Bel Air Home for Children and Adolescents, The Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center and Father Mallaghan’s Home for Boys.

REACH Within is a multi-faceted program, developed by REACH Grenada, that aims to improve the lives of formerly maltreated children by teaching them valuable life skills that will help them to lead empowered lives and overcome prior adversities. REACH Within is a psychosocial and mindfulness-based program for children which is delivered in group settings. This innovative program fosters resilience in children and promotes healthy interpersonal relationships by teaching them self-regulation, emotional literacy and social skills.

The implementation of the REACH Within program is unique in that it builds the capacity of the caregivers in the group residential homes. After receiving training, caregivers first began assisting trained REACH Within facilitators and most recently in June began leading the classes independently. It is in this way that the REACH Within program will have future sustainability. This also ensures that overtime REACH Grenada’s therapeutic programs will be assimilated into the overall care provided by group residential facilities. REACH Within Facilitators will continue to provide caregivers leading the classes with ongoing coaching and mentoring.

The caregivers and management at all four home sites who are involved in the REACH Within program are dedicated to the programming, as they see first hand the benefits the children are receiving as a result of the weekly classes being taught in-house by their own caregivers.

One group home manager had this to say:

“What I have found is for the girls who have been here, they have some emotional and behavior problems. It helps with behavior. They seem to have settled quite a lot. They used to be quite aggressive and now they have calmed down quite a bit.”

By the end of 2012, the REACH Within program will benefit every child in all of Grenada’s youth care homes. The development of the REACH Within model is part of a larger movement currently underway in Grenada which aims to revitalize the core system of care in children’s homes. Through its partnerships with The Child Protection Authority and The Ministry of Social Development's Division of Social Services, REACH Grenada is optimistic that the REACH Within program will serve as a stepping stone for continued improvements to Grenada’s already robust child care system. With its REACH Within program, REACH Grenada is also building a model of care that will help children in other settings around the world, including children living on streets and in detention. Stay tuned for updates and highlights as the program progresses.

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20 June 2012
On Saturday, June 16th, REACH Grenada delivered a Self-Care & Classroom Management workshop to a group of seven caregivers from five of Grenada’s group residential homes. REACH Grenada Program Director, Lindsay Eagleton and Dr. Barbara Landon, a neuropsychologist from St. George’s University led the sessions.

Topics covered included identifying stressors and learning strategies to cope with stress and a tutorial on classroom management techniques based on the Conscious Discipline model.




Feedback from the Self-Care & Classroom Management Workshop was very positive and indicated that the caregivers are more confident in their ability to successfully manage stress, which they feel will lead to a more a positive environment for the children in their care. They also reported having learned a great deal from the classroom management portion, which will help them contribute to optimum learning conditions for the children in their care.

REACH Grenada believes in the sustainability of programming along with capacity building, as evidenced in this workshop where crucial skills are transferred to local care home staff.




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16 June 2012
Caregivers at the Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH) celebrated their graduation from REACH Grenada's Conscious Discipline® Training Program on Friday, June 15th, in Tempe, St. George's. Mrs. Marion Pierre, Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Home, delivered a keynote speech to the 15 graduates and an audience of friends, and community members.

The June 15th graduation, which marked the completion of the caregivers' eight month long training program, was sponsored by REACH Grenada and commemorated the certification of QEH caregivers in the area of Conscious Discipline®. Conscious Discipline®, a training program developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, equips teachers and caregivers with techniques that promote social-emotional learning in children. REACH Grenada worked in conjunction with neuropsychologist Dr. Barbara Landon of St. George's University to adapt this training program to the specific needs of the Grenadian care home population.

Congratulating the caregivers on the completion of the Conscious Discipline® training, Mrs. Pierre had this to say:

"Congratulations...on your graduation. I do believe that what Conscious Discipline® teaches can help not only the children you care of but your own, and maybe a future if you decide to go into childcare outside of Grenada...It was indeed heartwarming to hear those of you who gave testimony to the results of what you learned."

The completion of this Conscious Discipline training is part of REACH Grenada's overall Caregiver Education Program, which builds on the capacities of caregivers, increasing their ability to self-regulate and better attune with the children in their care. With their new Conscious Discipline® certification, caregivers are now empowered to creatively respond to daily conflicts and transform them into an opportunity to teach critical life lessons to the children in their care.

One caregiver reflected on the progress she and her fellow caregivers have made over the course of the training:

"The Conscious Discipline, oh my goodness, it's been really good. Now we’re able to sit down and talk problems out with the children. Before, it was different-we would put them in time out...[Now] we're able to sit with them and talk to them and teach them how to express their feelings to each other and to us caregivers, without having to fight."

This training is currently in its fourth month at the Bel Air Home for Children and Adolescents, in Frequente St. Greorge's. The success of the program at the Queen Elizabeth Home has now set the stage for the expansion of REACH Grenada's Caregiver Education Program to more caregivers on the island.



Mrs. Marion Pierre, Executive Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Home, and Mrs. Lindsay Eagleton, Program Director of REACH Grenada, present certificate to QEH caregiver.





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03 May 2012
REACH Grenada’s Buddy Mentoring Program met its successful completion on April 19, 2012. This program was a collaboration between REACH Grenada, the Queen Elizabeth Home and social work students from T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC). The year long pilot project sponsored by REACH Grenada aimed to provide homework help and one-on-one mentoring for the children of Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH) in Tempe, St. George’s, Grenada. In total, QEH children received a little over 100 hours of individual mentoring over the course of the program. 
 
As part of their on-going education and participation in the program, mentors were trained in Dr. Becky Bailey’s award wining Conscious Discipline model by Dr. Barbara Landon, a licensed psychologist from St. George’s University. Participants learned valuable tools to assist them in mentoring children at QEH, such as how to recognize and address difficult or unhealthy behaviors and how to create optimal social and emotional learning states.
 
Feedback provided by care home staff and the mentees themselves indicated that the mentors were successful in forming positive relationships with the children, as well as helping them with their homework assignments and supporting their personal growth. Since the start of this program in March 2011, care home staff have seen improvements amongst the children in the following areas: reading, writing and spelling; focus and attention; increases in positive attitudes towards learning and personal growth; and improvements in general social skills amongst their peers and adults. As Lorna Douglas, Buddy Mentoring Coordinator, states:

“The students at TAMCC have undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the children. Besides all of the great academic help they’ve provided, they’ve also managed to show the kids that despite being disadvantaged, they still have every opportunity to develop themselves and strive for greatness in the future.”



Involvement in this program proved to be an excellent opportunity for the TAMCC students wishing to gain real life experience in the field of social work. By participating in the program, TAMCC students received full credit for their social work practicum requirements. It also served as an invaluable learning opportunity, helping them to better understand how to handle issues affecting disadvantaged youth, and allowing them to gain greater confidence in working with this special population. As one mentor puts it:

“I’ve learned a lot from this experience. The little girl I mentored reminded me of myself. At first, she was struggling to read, but after our mentoring sessions she really grew as a reader. Now she reads Biscuit Goes to School to me! The personal one-on-one attention the mentoring program afforded her helped her to learn to read, which might not have happened in her regular school or care home setting.”
 
The QEH children, care home staff and mentors were all in attendance at the program’s closing ceremony on Thursday April 19, 2012, which celebrated the accomplishments achieved over the past year. QEH kids received inspirational letters from their mentors, which highlighted their buddy’s achievements and left them with words of encouragement. Certificates of participation were awarded to both the mentors and mentees for their hard work and dedication.




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15 March 2012
For the fourth year in a row, REACH Grenada is excited to participate in the ING New York City Marathon. Those who ran for Team REACH in 2011 helped the organization raise over $120,000 for the children of Grenada. The money they contributed has brought benefits to children like these:

I feel happy in the REACH classes…I love them. It helps to relax your mind and your body. In the evening, it helps when you go to sleep. I feel perfect and relaxed.” - 12 year old girl

The REACH classes are exciting and great. It teaches how to calm ourselves. It tells us when we are angry to just sit, smile, take a deep breath and relax.” -11 year old boy




Residents of the Emergency Shelter Center participating in group activity

Although spots are filling up quickly, REACH still has a number of entries available and are looking to have them filled by the end of May. If you know someone who is interested in joining Team REACH 2012 and raising money for a good cause, please refer them to the marathon page on our site. For more information on registering or fundraising please email VIncent Aloi, REACH Grenada's Marathon Coordinator, at vincent@reachgrenada.org.

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2011

13 December 2011

On December 2-4th, a group of 22 participants, 11 of which were child care workers from five of Grenada’s children’s homes, successfully graduated from a Teen Yoga Teacher Training course. This training, which was organized and funded by REACH Grenada, took place at the Fountain of Youth Yoga Studio in Grenada and was delivered by Erin Wilson of the New York based Karma Kids Yoga Company.

This year’s training awarded certifications to caregivers, thus enabling them to teach age-appropriate yoga techniques to the teens in their care. Instructors learned how to guide their students on a journey of self-exploration, giving them effective tools to handle stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and other challenges facing teens. Instructors will now help their teens develop life skills and self-confidence, so that they will be empowered to pursue their passions and contribute to their communities in meaningful ways. Training topics included a review of the health benefits of yoga for teens; games and activities such as self-esteem, body image, relationships, and sexual health.

Caregivers working in Grenada’s children’s homes, as well as REACH Grenada Program Facilitators, attended the 3-day intensive training. Graduates included two child care workers from Queen Elizabeth Home for Children, two from The Dorothy Hopkins Centre for the Disabled and Elderly, three from Bel Air Home for Children and Adolescents, two from Father Mallaghan’s Home for Boys, and two from Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center. Additionally, three places were made available to members of the public who wished to participate in this excellent learning opportunity.

Jerry Bascombe, Child Care Worker at Father Mallaghan’s Home had this to say about his experience:

“I am so grateful to REACH Grenada for being a part of such life changing moment. My first practice with the boys was yesterday and they were so into it that they just wanted to go on and on. I cannot thank Reach enough for this sign of hope for the boys and this new journey for myself.”

The recent Teen Yoga Teacher Training has set the stage for the expansion of REACH Grenada youth programs to other children’s homes in Grenada.





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15 November 2011
 On Saturday, October 29, 46 students enrolled in T.A. Marryshow Community College’s (TAMCC) Social Work program participated in a training entitled “The Magic of Mentoring.” The training was sponsored by REACH Grenada which began a Buddy Mentoring Program at The Queen Elizabeth Home in March of 2011. In this program TAMCC Social Work students are paired with a child at the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children (QEH) to help with homework and provide social and emotional support.

The training was based on Dr. Becky Bailey’s award winning Conscious Discipline® model and was instructed by Dr. Barbara Landon, a licensed psychologist with a specialty in pediatric neuropsychology. Participants learned valuable tools to assist them in mentoring children at QEH, such as how to recognize and address difficult or unhealthy behaviors and how to create optimal social and emotional learning states.

Dr. Landon has studied with Dr. Becky Bailey and has been teaching Conscious Discipline in Grenada for the past two years, through her work as a psychologist at St. George’s University. Dr. Landon had this to say about the training:

“I've been teaching Conscious Discipline and related subjects for quite some time. This particular group of students is one of the most eager, engaged, and receptive audiences I've ever encountered. It is so gratifying to present information to bright students who will actually go out into the world and make use of it!”

TAMCC lecturers Ms. Calisha Purcell-Charles, Ms. Ainka Antoine and Ms. Adana More also participated in the training. Mrs. Lorna Douglas organized and coordinated the training on behalf of REACH Grenada.

Participants received a certificate of completion at the end of the full-day training and were encouraged to apply mentoring principals not only as part of the REACH Buddy Mentoring Program but also with relatives and neighbors.

As one student who attended the training reflected:

'This training teaches you ways to control anger and relieve stress. Also, it teaches you self control and how to improve your self esteem. Also it teaches you the right ways and procedures you should follow when dealing with children'.

Echoing these sentiments, a participant in REACH's Buddy Mentoring Program expressed her newfound confidence in working with her buddy:

“I personally believe that I am ready and capable of handling any situation brought up through the mentor program. I learned many skills today that I can use with my buddy”.



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08 November 2011
Team REACH Grenada is proud to announce that it has set a new fundraising record with the 2011 ING NYC Marathon, which took place on November 6th 2011. To date, REACH has raised an impressive $100,000 USD this year to support its therapeutic programs in care homes for abused and abandoned children in Grenada. For the third year in a row, Team REACH Grenada’s runners were united behind one goal: run 26.2 miles in support of the children whom the charity serves.

REACH Grenada’s runners come from all over the world in support of the charity’s mission to help the most vulnerable children of Grenada. 2011's team consisted of 25 runners including representatives from USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and Grenada. Clad in their REACH Grenada T-shirts, teammates hit the pavements and churned through all 5 boroughs of New York City, lined with crowds of cheering spectators and supporters. A first time marathon runner, Nathan Sheard comments:

“I can't thank the entire team at REACH Grenada enough. This has been an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity to give back while meeting and exceeding personal goals in such a highly supportive environment.”

Over 600 donors worldwide contributed to the organization’s fundraising campaign on behalf of its team of marathon runners. One dedicated teammate, Chiara Ferragamo, set the team’s personal fundraising record by raising an astounding $31,000 USD for REACH Grenada. One hundred percent of the proceeds will support REACH Grenada’s programs which include Mentoring and Youth Yoga Life Skills classes benefiting children in residential care homes on the island. Proceeds will also support REACH Grenada's Caregiver Education programs, delivering training and coaching support in Conscious Discipline® for staff and managers of group residential homes.

Karen Lawson, co-founder of REACH Grenada and team REACH marathon runner, comments:

“Running the NYC Marathon is truly a triumph of the human spirit, body, and mind. Running the NYC Marathon along with 24 other dedicated souls was, for me, a peak experience that combined human solidarity, determination and fierce dedication to our goal of easing the lives of Grenada’s most vulnerable children. I wish that the children could have witnessed the outpouring of love and commitment that was generously offered by Team REACH Grenada as they kept their eye on the prize of the finish line- a metaphor for the hope and healing that will someday be theirs.”



Team REACH Grenada is proud to continue its tradition of marathon participation, and looks forward to competing in the 2012 ING NYC Marathon. The charity is already receiving requests from runners wishing to join the 2012 team. If you or somebody you know is interested in running with Team REACH Grenada in 2012, please email vincent@reachgrenada.org.

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10 October 2011
REACH Grenada sponsored for the second year in a row Ms. Lisa Kasimow, an elementary school teacher, musician and yoga instructor from Brooklyn, to teach REACH’s Youth Yoga Summer Camp for children at both the Queen Elizabeth and Bel Air Homes for previously maltreated youth. This year’s four week camp benefited 38 children between the ages of 2 and 18 with weekly yoga classes.

Through this summer program, REACH Grenada piloted newly developed curriculum aimed at increasing the use of the children’s coping behaviors (i.e. calming, problem solving, and assessing social support). Topics included anger management, anti-bullying, empathy and goal setting. All the classes incorporated yoga postures and relaxation along with music, dance, art, games and drama.

Lisa Kasimow noted the children’s connection to the song “One Love” by Bob Marley. “Watching the children sing was truly inspiring. The minute they started to sing you could see joy on their faces and the energy in the room became united.” Incorporating music in the yoga sessions helped the children relax, let go of stress and connect with friends.

REACH’s Psychosocial Needs Assessment conducted in April (2011) reported that 46% of children living in group care home experienced peer relationship difficulties such as being bullied. Accordingly, as part of REACH’s new curriculum, anti-bullying workshops were held at both care homes. The adolescent population living at Bel Air especially benefited from the role-playing activities that taught strategies to identify and stop bullying. Ms. Alison Greene, Assistant Manager at Bel Air shared her impressions:

“After the bullying lesson you could see an immediate change in the girls’ attitudes. I saw girls stand up for each other after the workshop and name calling certainly decreased.”

In addition to the yearly Summer Camp, REACH has ongoing Youth Yoga Programs at Queen Elizabeth Home, Bel Air Home and Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center which are taught by group home staff and REACH Coordinators. REACH’s long term goal is for group home staff who are Karma Kids Yoga trained to teach youth yoga classes for years to come.

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12 September 2011


 

REACH Grenada has now successfully installed playground equipment, consisting of 11 slides, 10 swing-sets, 7 see-saws, and 4 monkey bar-sets, benefitting approx. 2,000 students from 11 primary schools in St. Andrew’s Parish, Grenada.

REACH Grenada is happy to announce that the playground equipment is already having a positive impact. Ms. Liz Peters, Principal at Bel Air Primary School in St. Andrew’s Parish, had this to say about the project:

“REACH Grenada really makes dreams come true. The playground equipment allows the children to strengthen their muscles, cooperate together, and allows for group leaders to emerge. Most of all, children are kept busy and get a chance to have fun while playing at school.”

These donations have been part of REACH Grenada’s ongoing partnership with local schools in an effort to improve standards in children’s education, recreation and healthy living. The children have been enjoying their new playgrounds so much that students at St. Mathew’s Primary School even visited on weekends to use the equipment. “I also had a ride down the slide one evening after work!” admits Ms. Margaret Wilson, Principal at the St. Mathew’s Primary School.

The project was directed by UK-based Education Consultant Advisor Mrs. Elaine Moreton, who generously donated her time from April 2008 to August 2011 overseeing the entire REACH Grenada education program. Ms. Moreton shared these kind words with us:

“I am proud to have been a part of REACH Grenada and know that it will continue to enrich the lives of children in Grenada in so many different ways. Bartholomew Lawson’s ‘dream’ is now a reality and I wish all in the organization every success and happiness in the future.”

REACH is proud to have provided more safe places for the children of St. Andrew’s Parish to play and grow.



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30 July 2011

  

Dr. Karen Lawson and her family were grateful to receive special recognition for their dedication to Grenada at this year’s Grenada Support Group Appreciation Awards Banquet, held in Brooklyn, New York on July 31, 2011.

The Grenada Support Group Award was bestowed upon Dr. Lawson and family in recognition of the humanitarian work of REACH Grenada, the organization she co-founded in 2008 with Mr. Neo Moreton to continue the charitable work and longstanding commitment of Dr. Lawson’s late husband Bartholomew J. Lawson, former Ambassador-at-Large to Grenada. REACH Grenada’s mission of improving the health and well-being of Grenada’s vulnerable children encompasses Bart’s spirit of selflessness and contribution to the people of Grenada.

REACH Grenada’s Program Director, Lindsay Eagleton, and Mentor Program Coordinator Lorna Douglas (pictured) attended the event and accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Lawson, who commented:

“The entire REACH Grenada community is happy to be recognized for its work in caring for Grenada's most vulnerable children because through this public notice, we will broaden our circle of "givers and doers"- those able and willing to step up and contribute to our collective effort to bring healing to those in need.”

Founded in 1983, the Grenada Support Group raises funds to support projects in health, education and the arts on the island.

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04 July 2011
The REACH Grenada team has just returned from one of its popular Voluntourism trips to Grenada. Twelve volunteers throughout the New York City area came together to lend their time and talents helping to improve the physical structure of two care homes on the island, while forging newfound friendships with the kids and caregivers of the homes.

The June 2011 Voluntourism group was broken up into two separate groups according to gender as to best serve the two distinct populations being helped; the 18 boys at the Father Mallaghan’s Home for Boys (FMHB); and the 12 girls at the Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center (GGESC)

RG’s Director of Marketing and Communication, Ann Merideth, led the group of 7 female volunteers to GGESC. Over the course of 4 days and 5 nights, the female volunteers painted bookshelves, placed stencils in the home’s main hallway, and designed outside playing courts for hopscotch, morale, and in-the-circle. The volunteers also refurbished the girls’ personal lockers and replaced doorknobs and handles throughout the home. The group also led the girls of GGESC in beadwork activities and games using the newly painted outdoor courts.

As a special surprise for the GGESC girls, Joanna Erdos, General Manager of School of Rock NYC, brought a keyboard to give private introductory piano lessons to those girls who were interested in learning how to play. Joanna was happily surprised to find that so many of the girls had a natural talent for playing the piano! Many female volunteers said that their most cherished time was spent making jewelry with the girls and hearing them sing and play music on the keyboard that was so generously donated to the home at the end of the trip.

RG’s Director of Contributions, Vincent Aloi, led the group of 5 male volunteers to the Father Mallaghan's Home for Boys in Victoria, St. Mark's Grenada. The trip led to the successful completion of the following service projects at FMHB; refurbishment of all of the lockers used to house the boys’ personal belongings; replacement of doorknobs and handles throughout the home; retiling of the floors in the boys’ bedroom, main staircase and kitchen; repairs to the boys’ shower room door; clearing-out and reorganization of the storage room as to make it a functional laundry room; and the donation of soccer balls and footballs for  the boys’ recreational use outside. Volunteers also donated 10 sets of new bath towels and bedding supplies to the home.

One volunteer, Nathan Sheard, had this to say about the trip:

“While much of my experience was deeply personal, I can say irrevocably that the experience was one of such great positive energies and memories that I hope to carry on into the future. I was so utterly impressed with the staff of REACH Grenada and the obviously apparent passion for what they do, and the children and caretakers they interact with regularly… It's one thing to know about the work that's being done, and another completely to have feet on the ground and see the results of that work, and the children who are so greatly aided by your efforts.”

We thank everyone for coming together to make this such a productive and meaningful trip. We look forward to continuing the success of this trip with future voluntourism trips later this year!

To learn more about REACH Grenada's Voluntourism trips and to get involved, please visit:
http://www.reachgrenada.org/voluntourism.php

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07 June 2011
REACH Grenada provided caregiver training to 13 caregivers and two managers at the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children. The ARC (Attachment, Regulation and Competency), developed by Blaustein, Spinazzola, and van der Kolk, focused on ways caregivers can help children heal some of the emotional wounds of trauma resulting from abuse and neglect. 

Erin Brown, MSW, Peace Corps Response Volunteer provided the training over the course of 5 weeks. Caregivers learned how they may become attuned to the children while staying in tune with themselves and their own emotional experiences so they can provide the best possible care for children. They were given several tools and techniques to use in their day-to-day interactions to help the children identify, express, and regulate their emotions, and support the children in strengthening their cognitive functioning.

Additionally the training provided information on how trauma effects brain activity and how caregivers can help children recognize and modulate their physiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions.

At the time of our children living in The Queen Elizabeth Home which is currently undergoing an expansion. When this is complete there may be as many as 50 children all of whom may benefit from our training.

“After the training was complete, caregivers seemed to have a much better understanding of children’s emotions and where they are coming from which helps them empathize,” says Erin Brown, Peace Corps Response Volunteer. “This empathy helps them improve their interactions with children and as a result they become even more nurturing and supportive to the children who need it most.”

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07 June 2011
REACH Grenada is proud to be launching a new program, Junior Givers and Doers, that pairs schools in America with individual orphanages in Grenada. On April 8, Katia Lawson, 9, presented to an auditorium of preschoolers at Resurrection Episcopal Day School (REDS) in New York, NY. REDS is part of our pilot partnership with the orphanage, Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH). Katia taught the children about the island of Grenada and the children at the Queen Elizabeth Home. They were rapt with attention as they watched our voluntourism video and asked many questions such as “Where are their families?”, “What do they do for fun?”, and “How do you they get to Grenada?”

In February, the REDS children created plantable cards using recycled materials and vegetable seeds and sent them to the QEH children to plant in their garden. As the plants grow, the orphans will share photos of the plants with the REDS students, thereby providing a foundation to form friendships between children across cultures.

REACH Grenada's plan for these partnerships is to select hands-on projects to make functional items that can be used in daily life and provide practical benefits. By actively involving the children in these projects, we provide them with a sense of ownership and responsibility. We believe that forming these relationships through actions and deeds will provide the greatest chance to develop unique friendships and foster a spirit of giving and charity.

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07 June 2011
REACH Grenada was honored to attend the first annual Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline, sponsored by Southern Methodist University, held in Dallas, Texas from June 2-4, 2011.

For the first time ever, this conference brought together an international group of policy makers, educators, researchers and members of the general public, united in their commitment to end corporal punishment against children, which is the number one form of violence against children worldwide.

REACH Grenada’s Program Director, Lindsay Eagleton, attended the summit along with 21 other countries represented at this conference. The program included:

• Reporting on children’s rights and research bases for ending corporal punishment and progress towards reform around the world
• Breakout sessions focusing on encouraging the use of positive discipline and strategies for reducing the use of corporal punishment in the home and schools
• Sessions on working with faith communities, cultural communities, professionals and youth

Participants contributed to brainstorming sessions and made recommendations for how to bolster change at all levels around the world. The summit produced a proclamation agreed by all delegates.

Through its participation at this summit, REACH Grenada aims to incorporate the latest in international child-rearing standards into its caregiver training programs in Grenada.

According to a report issued in July 2011 by the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, there are now 30 countries with full prohibition of corporal punishment and progress toward banning corporal punishment is moving forward in many other countries. Recent research shows that corporal punishment is still prevalent in the USA, although there is evidence to show that its use is declining. In Grenada, corporal punishment is legal, however, it is strictly prohibited in childcare homes by licensing requirements.

REACH Grenada hopes that with proper training, namely in the areas of positive parenting and Conscious Discipline, caregivers will be equipped with the proper tools. With training and support, caregivers need not resort to corporal punishment, thus breaking the cycle of neglect and abuse many of these children have faced throughout their lives.

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03 April 2011

REACH Grenada expands its Youth Yoga Program to the Bel Air Home for Children and Adolescents (Bel Air) in St. George’s, Grenada, building upon the success of the organization’s pilot program at the Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH). Bel Air is the largest group residential home for abused and abandoned children in Grenada housing 30 residents between infancy and eighteen years of age.

Weekly classes for all youth residents started in early April 2011 and have been well received by the children. A 16 year-old female resident says, “Yoga class makes me feel very nice. I feel very happy after class and don't want it to be over."

By offering this valuable program to the Bel Air Home, the children have the opportunity to participate in weekly after school yoga sessions where they are taught gentle physical exercises along with group games and breathing techniques designed to enhance self-regulation and improve coping skills. Moreover, the sessions incorporate trauma resiliency and general life skills to address vulnerabilities and to help build the foundation for a healthy and happy life.

Since May of 2010, twenty QEH children between the ages of 2 and 10 have benefited from over 100 classes offered by REACH Grenada-trained program coordinators. REACH’s Program Director, Lindsay Eagleton comments:

“We are very excited to be able to expand our yoga program to the Bel Air Home. We have seen firsthand the benefits yoga can bring to children at Queen Elizabeth Home. Especially as evidenced by their improved focus and their ability to calm down in times of emotional disturbance. The classes have become an integral part of the children’s after school routine.”

REACH Grenada programs are welcomed by management and staff at Bel Air and positive results are anticipated.

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07 March 2011
Dust your running sneakers off!

REACH Grenada has received 25 slots for the 2011 ING NYC Marathon on November 6, 2011. Now's the perfect time to apply before you miss out. Slots are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and we would love to have you on this year's team. If you cannot run this year, but know someone who would be interested in joining the team, please refer them to our webpage.

Get 2011 off on the right foot...and then the left foot, and on and on until you cross the finish line in November!

There's no time like the present! Join REACH Grenada's 2011 ING NYC Marathon team now!

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2010

02 December 2010

In November 2010, REACH Grenada sponsored Grenada’s first ever Children’s Yoga Teacher Training course. The training was offered in collaboration with Karma Kids Yoga from New York City and took place at Fountain of Youth Yoga, St. George's. A total of 17 people graduated from the training including five care workers from Queen Elizabeth Home for Children, two from Dorothy Hopkins, two from Bel Air Home for Children and Adolescents, one from Father Mallaghan’s Home for Adolescent Boys, one from Government of Grenada Emergency Shelter Center. Addtitionally, three REACH Grenada Yoga Program Coordinators successfully completed the training. The graduates are now qualified to teach yoga and relaxation techniques to the children in their care.

Reach Grenada's Pilot Children's Yoga Program began in May of 2010 offering weekly classes for 20 children between the ages of 2 and 10 at the Queen Elizabeth Home. Program benefits include increased pro-social behavior, improved focus, and reduced anxiety.

Mrs. Marion Pierre, Executive Chairman of Queen Elizabeth Home says:
“The children look forward to the times they do Yoga. Their energy levels have improved; they are more responsive, alert and even their postures have improved in the way they sit and walk. Yoga has surely been a great help to their bodies and minds.”

This training set the stage for the expansion of the REACH Grenada Yoga Program to the other group residential care facilities located throughout the island.

Special thanks to Fountain of Youth Yoga who sponsored the venue and to the Bartholomew J. Lawson Foundation for Children who sponsored the training. 

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01 December 2010
In November 2010, REACH Grenada provided key training in the areas of stress and relaxation to two managers at the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Home (QEH) in Tempe, Grenada. Specifically, this training taught the managers how to identify stressors in their work environment and equipped them with the proper tools and relaxation techniques to best deal with the stress. Training in stress and relaxation is particularly important in the care home setting, since children are highly attuned to their caregiver’s state of mind. Therefore, it is very important that the care home environment is calm.

REACH Grenada co-founder Neo Moreton delivered the management trainings over the course of two days. The training was well received by the managers of QEH. Manager LesleyAnn Celestine commented:

“I enjoyed this training so much because it gave me real ways to cope with stress and showed me how stressed I can get without even knowing it. It was very helpful to share my personal experiences and have [Neo] offer real-life solutions to these problems. My heart goes out to Neo for making the course so easy to understand. I wish everyone can receive such training.”

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24 November 2010
Team REACH Grenada celebrates its outstanding fundraising success in the ING New York City Marathon for the second year in a row! On 7th November 2010 the team not only crossed the world famous finish line but also smashed projected fundraising targets to raise an impressive $90,000 in sponsorship, from nearly 700 donors, for charity REACH Grenada. One hundred percent of the proceeds will support REACH Grenada’s therapeutic programs benefiting children in residential care in Grenada.

Mr Neo Moreton, Executive Director of the charity and Team Captain comments:
"I am so proud of our runners for their commitment to supporting our mission, persevering through 26.2 miles, and helping us exceed our target by over $15,000. In all ways, our participation in the ING NYC Marathon has been a runaway success and certainly paves the way for future fundraising!”

This year’s REACH Grenada team consisted of 25 runners including representatives from Canada, USA and France and 8 representatives from St George’s University, Grenada. Sporting their REACH Grenada T-shirts with pride and driven by a shared goal to raise money to help children in Grenada, the team focused on the challenge ahead and ran determinedly through 5 boroughs of New York, all lined with huge cheering spectators and supporters, to cross the finish line. Team REACH Grenada member Christine Czuba commented: "What a fun day ... what an amazing experience ... what tired feet I have! It was great to meet everyone and really understand the reason beyond Reach Grenada. I sure wore my t-shirt proudly during the entire race."

REACH Grenada’s aim to establish a longstanding tradition of marathon participation and an ongoing source of sponsorship to fund a wide range of ongoing projects that are helping vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Grenada is clearly on the road to being fulfilled. Participation in this year’s special event has already inspired many of the 2010 team runners to sign up for next year’s ING NYC marathon as team member Jay Greenbaum comments:
"[The marathon] was amazing. Congrats on a great fundraiser which is now an official tradition for me! Can’t wait until next year!"

The members of Team REACH Grenada and special guest, Joe “Country” Greenidge, attended a pre-marathon pasta party hosted by Dr Karen Lawson, co-Founder of REACH Grenada and six-time marathon runner. Event sponsors included: Reach Grenada, Julien Farel Salon, Karma Kids Yoga, Gnosis Chocolate, Sensible Sitters and the Queen Elizabeth Home of Tempe.

The ING New York City Marathon continues to grow in popularity year upon year. A massive 44,829 runners, representing 111 different countries completed the race this year raising a colossal $30 million for 8,200 charities including REACH Grenada.

REACH Grenada aims to recruit 25 runners for next year’s race and to once again exceed our target of $75,000. If you or somebody you know is interested in running with Team REACH Grenada in 2011, please email jared@reachgrenada.org.



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08 October 2010
On 12th-16th June 2010, 15 children and 9 parents visited Grenada to volunteer at the Queen Elizabeth Home for Children (QEH) in Tempe, as part of charity REACH Grenada’s inspirational and family-friendly voluntourism program.

Through its well-established partnership with QEH, REACH Grenada provided a unique opportunity for the 6 families from New York City, U.S.A. to combine holidaying in a beautiful Caribbean setting with volunteering to a variety of charitable activities.

REACH Grenada is funding a wide range of ongoing projects aimed at enhancing the well being of QEH’s children through yoga, meditation, psycho-social counseling and care-giver training. The voluntourism program aims to help sustain funding of REACH Grenada’s existing projects, develop the children’s pro-social interaction and improve the physical environment of the Home.

As well as participating in yoga and other fun activities with the children, the volunteer group followed a detailed work schedule, organized and overseen by REACH Grenada, which included: transforming a storage room into a children’s library, fully stocked with donated books and games; refurbishing three bathrooms; and planting a vegetable garden that is already producing fresh green string beans and lettuces used to make the children’s meals!



Mrs Marion Pierre, Executive Trustee of QEH says:

“Reach Grenada has been associated with QEH for over a year. Within that period both the staff and children have benefited significantly. The Board of Trustees, management and staff of the QEH are sincerely grateful for the support provided by Reach Grenada and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

Dr Karen Lawson, Co-Founder of REACH Grenada and parent of three, comments on the importance of enabling children to gain first-hand experience of altruism in action:

“Exposing children to positive volunteering experiences from a young age can help to make them happier by nurturing their sense of personal fulfillment and place in the world. In addition it can help sow the seeds of social conscience and hopefully inspire an ongoing interest and participation in giving to others in the future.”

The success of the REACH Grenada voluntourism program reflects an increase in the number of parents searching for meaningful family holidays and, also, a wider shift in international tourism trends towards a growing demand for more socially responsible, eco-oriented travel experiences with opportunities to gain valuable insights into different cultures and volunteer help to local communities.



Mr Neo Moreton, Co-Founder and Executive Director of REACH Grenada, and graduate of Columbia University Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, explains that the innovative voluntourism program has long-term benefits for everyone involved:

“This inter-generational voluntourism experience aims to encourage parents and their children to invest in continued voluntary work to help local communities. By cultivating a ‘cycle of giving’ they can make a real difference to the world they live in.”

Due to popular demand a special Thanksgiving Voluntourism trip is scheduled to take place 24th-28th November 2010.

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20 August 2010
On June 2nd 2010, in partnership with REACH Grenada, a group of Tourism Management students from the forward-thinking Humber College in Toronto, Canada, visited Grenada as part of their ‘Study at Sea’ program. The visit was organized by REACH Grenada to help cultivate strategic relationships with international partners to raise Grenada’s profile as a leading socially responsible tourist destination.

Humber College’s ‘Study at Sea’, operated in partnership with the Institute for Shipboard Education, enables students to research, study and assess the individual tourism credentials of selected destinations. The College’s choice of Grenada reflects a recent shift in international tourism trends towards a growing demand for beautiful destinations that offer more socially conscious, eco-oriented travel experiences with opportunities to volunteer help to local communities. Chris Thompson, Responsible Tourism Coordinator for the Federation of Tour Operators says:

“At least two thirds of the people walking into a travel agency are looking for authenticity, they are looking for something being put back into the local destination, and that we are actually enhancing livelihoods.”

With its unique culture, pristine beaches, and REACH Grenada’s wide range of charitable projects, Grenada was identified by the Humber College students as an island extremely well poised to fulfill these requirements.

Docking at Grenada’s exclusive luxury hotel Laluna, one of REACH Grenada’s partners, the 24 students and 3 faculty followed an itinerary that included a tour of the hotel, a visit to a spice market and a chance to sample locally-sourced seafood at BB’s Crabback Caribbean Restaurant. In addition, an interview with Laluna owner Bernardo Bertucci increased their knowledge about the running of a hotel, aspects of Grenadian tourism and Laluna’s involvement with REACH Grenada’s Parent-Child Voluntourism trip, a working model of socially responsible tourism in Grenada, which took place in June 2010.

The students were also given a special opportunity to volunteer at the Queen Elizabeth Home (QEH) for Children, in Tempe, where REACH Grenada has funded a number of rehabilitative programs aimed at enhancing the lives of the children through yoga, meditation, psycho-social counseling and care-giver training. The students carried out various renovations including priming a storage container and painting furniture, as well as enjoying yoga and other fun activities with the children at the Home.  Lukas Rosinski, Tourism Management Student at Humber College commented on his experience:

"Many times when I travel I feel like I only take from the destination - in Grenada, our day was amazing - Reach Grenada provided a structured opportunity for volunteering where not only did I feel like I was actually helping but feeling really good about doing it! I left with a more understanding heart and feeling like I made a difference!"

Mary Lendway, MBA, Professor and Program Coordinator of the Tourism Management program at Humber College comments on the positive impact of this element of the students’ visit:

“It was an honor to participate in the service project at the Queen Elizabeth Home - the children were wonderful and it was our privilege to be a part of their lives - even for a few hours - a transformational experience for our students and the beginning of a long lasting relationship.”

Marion G. Pierre, Executive Chairman of QEH, also expressed her gratitude to REACH Grenada:

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the staff and children of the Queen Elizabeth Home, I thank you most sincerely for the visit and work done by the students of Humber College. It was heart-warming to see the tears of joy shed by some of the students and supervisors. The short time they spent either working or being with the children was a blessing to us all.”

REACH Grenada looks forward to developing more tourism partnerships and building on the great success of their Parent-Child Voluntourism trip which has raised funds for ongoing projects aimed at helping the children of Grenada.

A special Thanksgiving Parent-Child Voluntourism trip is scheduled to take place 24th-28th November 2010.

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28 July 2010
REACH Grenada has funded a second annual supply of printing paper and ink cartridges for St Andrew’s Parish schools to help maintain the good use being made of the state-of-the-art laptops, printer and photocopiers already purchased and successfully installed in eighteen schools by REACH Grenada in February 2009.

This continued provision bears testament to REACH Grenada’s long-term commitment to help raise standards in St Andrew’s Parish Primary schools. REACH Grenada works in close partnership with the schools to provide equipment and resources (all locally sourced to support the economy) that will help to improve the quality of school management, teaching and learning.

REACH Grenada’s generous contribution and continued support is helping to develop leadership in the St Andrew’s Parish schools by enabling Principals to more easily store data, correspond with the Ministry of Education, keep records, print materials for staff meetings and produce good quality lesson plans and resources. Bernadette Christopher, Principal at St Andrew’s Methodist School, says: “Teachers who were computer illiterate are now confident users and teaching other staff to use the ICT resources.”

In addition, the students greatly benefit from the resources and printed worksheets produced for individual use in the classroom and are encouraged to carry out tasks using the laptops independently, as Father Edward Mark, Principal at St Andrew’s Anglican School, comments: “We are introducing all our children to the computers and giving them the opportunity to use them.”


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16 July 2010

As part its Partnership with Schools Program, on July 12th and 13th, 2010 REACH Grenada sponsored and coordinated a second Jolly Phonics literacy training at St. Andrew’s Parish Teachers’ Centre attended by 78 teachers from 18 primary schools in St. Andrew’s parish, serving nearly 5,000 students.

This training built upon topics covered in the first training held in December of 2008. Reading, spelling and writing along with interactive activities based on the latest research in brain learning were reintroduced by Jolly Phonics accredited trainers from Carriacou. One training attendee, Ms. Leonora George, Principal of St. Mary’s RC said:

“The Jolly Phonics workshop was very refreshing and enlightening. The REACH program has enhanced my pupils learning from the short time we have introduced it.”

This training along with previously REACH donated books and Jolly Phonics resources equips teachers with vital teaching tools and brings improvements in the children’s literacy. Ms. Jacqueline Smith, Principal of St. Giles Anglican School comments:

“Phonics is the key to reading and reading is the foundation of life. My students are already fully into the Jolly Phonics program and it is surely improving their reading abilities. Thank you for your help.”
 


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13 July 2010
Building on the successful implementation of its educational chicken projects in four of St Andrew’s Parish schools, REACH Grenada is continuing its support by generously funding a second year’s supply of 325 broiler chicks, 20 bags of starter feed, 60 bags of finisher feed and 5 packets of antibiotics to keep the chicks healthy!

REACH Grenada’s strong commitment to working in close partnership with the schools in St Andrew’s Parish, using their existing infrastructure, to deliver the best results has helped produce a successful enterprise with students and educators reaping the benefits of REACH Grenada’s generous contribution. REACH Grenada’s aim, that the chicken project would be a self sustaining, ongoing scheme for schools that could also enhance the quality of their students’ learning experience is being realised and fulfilled in schools throughout St Andrew’s Parish.

Linked with the Grenadian Government School Feeding Program, the REACH Grenada chicken project provides ‘real’ learning opportunities for students by supporting schools’ mini business enterprise, i.e. breeding and selling chickens. Some schools, such as Belair Government School who have run successful chicken projects are using their experience and knowledge to embark on projects involving different poultry: “We have decided to use some of the profit to try some turkeys and the manure from the pens is used in the school gardens.”

Schools have been extremely successful, demonstrating good business acumen in supporting the Government’s School Feeding Programme and putting some of their profit back into the chicken project. In addition, some schools have used some of their profits to purchase valuable school resources; a fine example of this is St Michael’s RC School: “The students show great interest in the poultry project and the profit has contributed towards the funding of a much needed school photocopier.”

REACH Grenada has seen that the chicken project helps to offer a promising start to learning agricultural practice and is helping children to see firsthand that farming can be very satisfying, yielding tangible results based on good practice. It is also teaching the children that productive farming is for the community and not merely the individual.

Chicks

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06 July 2010
REACH Grenada’s delivery of 14 benches, expertly made by a local carpenter, and 28 palm trees to 8 of St Andrew’s Parish schools is having a positive impact on children’s school environments. The provision is part of REACH Grenada’s Partnership with Schools investment in improving standards in children’s recreation, healthy living and educational experience.

Widespread hurricane devastation of foliage on the island in 2004 and 2005 left many schools’ recreation areas bare and without shade. Building close working relationships with the schools and Ministry of Education in order to regenerate school environments is an important aspect of REACH Grenada’s work as Executive Director Mr Neo Moreton says:

“REACH Grenada aims to help improve school recreation areas by creating positive spaces for students to learn, rest amidst the busy school day and develop social and communication skills with their peers – all vital elements of a student’s school experience and personal development.”

The provision of comfortable seating for the students has enabled schools to extend their teaching space and create outdoor classrooms in addition to improving the quality of children’s playtime, providing opportunities for quiet time and enhancing the school environment.

The benches were welcomed by teachers and pupils alike and the slogan “REACH REACHES OUT” added to the back of each bench in one school says it all! In another school they were also put to good use for parents to sit to watch their children perform in an outdoor assembly!

Bench

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10 May 2010

REACH Grenada has generously donated 113 recorders and 13 instructional books to 13 Primary schools in St. Andrew’s Parish, Grenada. The students’ progress and achievement have been both impressive and inspiring.

Principal Margaret Wilson at St Matthew’s RC Primary School comments:

“Our students have made good use of the recorders. We were able to establish a partnership with a music instructor [from the Ministry of Education] who provided instructions and practice and the students were able to perform for their graduation in the presence of a big audience! We are very grateful and were surprised at the speed at which the students acquired the skill.”

Founders of REACH Grenada, Mr. Neo Moreton and Dr. Karen Lawson, are pleased that the recorders and teachers’ books have provided so many students with a new skill that has enabled them to enjoy such a worthwhile form of learning and recreation. Mr. Moreton says:

“Learning to play a musical instrument can be a wonderfully enriching educational experience and can help to improve concentration and perseverance, develop self esteem and nurture creativity.”

REACH Grenada looks forward to receiving more news and photos of end of term concerts for parents performed by these new budding musicians!


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06 April 2010
On 6th February 2010, REACH Grenada was awarded the prestigious Consul General’s Humanitarian Award at the annual Grenada Consulate’s Independence Gala and Awards Ceremony in New York. Founder of REACH Grenada Dr. Karen Lawson received the award and commented: “I created this charity in memory of my husband Bart who would be extremely proud to receive this award that recognizes the positive impact made to children in Grenada. The Bartholomew J. Lawson Foundation for Children supports REACH Grenada in the spirit of continuing his good work.”

Executive Director of REACH Grenada Mr. Neo Moreton is also proud that the charity has been commended for its meaningful contributions and says:”This award bears testament to REACH Grenada’s continued support of numerous projects which are achieving tangible results and significantly benefiting some of Grenada’s underprivileged children.”

The event was attended by a wide cross-section of Grenadian nationals in New York including: Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Dessima Williams, Consul General Honorable Derrick James, members of the Caribbean Consular Corps in New York, former Ambassador Dr. Lamuel Stanisclaus, Chairman of the Independence Anniversary Committee, Derek Ventour and Minister for Finance, Planning, Economic Development and Foreign Trade, Honorable Nazim Burke who spoke on behalf of Prime Minister of Grenada, Honorable Tillman Thomas.

Six awards were presented to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the community, including former Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Lamuel Stanisclaus who was presented with a Medal of Honor and Diamond Award from the Independence Committee. The former diplomat also received a proclamation from US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.




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06 March 2010
REACH Grenada's recent decision to fund a project led by the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) will significantly improve the health of children in St Andrew’s Parish schools in Grenada.

Having already delivered many successful educational and agricultural projects which have benefited children in St Andrew’s Parish schools in 2009, REACH Grenada have extended their program and are proud to partner with the internationally esteemed WINDREF. The project will until run until the end of 2010 and aims first to measure and then to reduce the incidence of Rheumatic Fever infections and Intestinal Helminthes (worms) among children aged 5-15 years in St. Andrew’s Parish schools.

Neglected Tropical Diseases such as intestinal Helminths affect rural areas of Grenada and can seriously impede children’s physical growth and cognitive development with time spent away from education and developmental activities. Dr. Karen Lawson, Co-Founder of REACH Grenada comments:
“This special partnership combining WINDREF’s wealth of scientific expertise and local knowledge and REACH Grenada’s provision of appropriate funding and resources will reduce children’s unnecessary suffering, improve health and increase educational achievement.”

Assistant Director of WINDREF Mr. Trevor Noël is leading the project and explains what it involves: “After informed parental consent is obtained 750 students from 14 schools in St Andrew’s Parish will be screened, evaluated and if necessary treated for Helminthic and Streptococcal infections. Depending on the incidence of these problems in the population, the project will also include a mass de-worming component for approximately 4,000 children. The educational component is aimed at future disease prevention and health promotion in St Andrew’s Parish schools which will have long-term benefits for the children and their community.”

REACH Grenada is committed to improving the lives of children in Grenada and establishing partnerships with highly acclaimed organizations such as WINDREF, so that it can build upon and expand its programs to benefit even more children in the future.

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2009

11 November 2009
Team REACH Grenada successfully completed the world famous ING New York City Marathon on November 1st 2009 raising over $65,000 USD in sponsorship money from over 580 international donors for REACH Grenada. With a cheering crowd, electric atmosphere and strong individual commitment to a shared goal, all 25 members of the team demonstrated determination to reach the finishing line and raise vital funds for REACH Grenada.

Honorable Derrick James, Consul General of Grenada, attended the pre-Marathon party hosted by REACH and praised the team’s participation and the charity’s ongoing commitment to helping the children of Grenada: "This is a commendable gesture which will long be remembered. The government will continue to partner with organisations like REACH Grenada which has provided significant assistance to charity on the island.”

The marathon marks an important milestone for REACH Grenada and the team’s outstanding success in raising funds and achieving projected targets clearly illustrates the charity’s strength of conviction, care and commitment. REACH Grenada’s aim is to establish a longstanding tradition of marathon participation to provide an ongoing source of sponsorship funding. As Neo Moreton explains: “We hope to increase the number of team members and the levels of sponsorship money each member raises in 2010. REACH Grenada is particularly keen to recruit more Grenadian runners and we call upon any Grenadian, Caribbean and West Indian communities to join the team in running next year’s NYC Marathon.”

This year’s Team REACH Grenada consisted of representatives from six nations. Three team members were Grenadian runners including New York-based Alister Renwick who comments: “As a born Grenadian I am most grateful for the opportunity to run ING NYC MARATHON to raise funds for the children of Grenada” and Grenada-based runners Marc De Caul and Marilyn Renwick who says: “I am thrilled to be participating in such a prestigious race and what could be more fulfilling than to complete it on behalf of the children of my home, Grenada.”

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30 October 2009
Committed to improving children’s health and well being through education about the benefits of home-grown produce, REACH Grenada has recently provided 13 wooden grow boxes, made by local Grenville craftsmen, to St Andrew’s Parish schools.

The Grow Box project, set up by REACH Grenada in partnership with schools, supports the Government of Grenada’s National School’s Feeding Program and National Agriculture ‘Short Crop’ Competition. Closely linked to the Science curriculum the project aims to teach students how to cultivate soil and produce ‘in-season’ fruit and root vegetables rich in nutritional value, through fun, creative, ‘hands-on’ approaches to teaching and learning. Neo Moreton, Executive Director of REACH Grenada, explains the long-term benefits of the project:

“The recent economic downturn has caused a necessary global shift away from importing fresh produce where possible. With its fertile soil Grenada is very well-placed agriculturally to produce its own home-grown fruits and vegetables and cultivating knowledge and interest in growing and harvesting crops at a grass roots level, in schools, can help to create an ongoing culture of self-sufficiency. This will help to provide a sustainable, healthy diet for children, reduce dependency on other countries and keep Grenada’s economy strong, now and in the future.”

REACH Grenada’s grow box project supports schools’ local business enterprise projects and vegetable seeds and tools have been provided by a local hardware shop. All schools with successful crop harvests will be awarded a REACH certificate.

We are looking forward to seeing some great crop harvests next year!

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29 September 2009
REACH Grenada’s mural painting project has been successfully completed and gratefully received by children and staff at the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Home, Grenada.

The project involved REACH Grenada volunteers, including six children from New York, U.S.A, who painted the colorful, nature-inspired mural for two mornings alongside children and care workers from Queen Elizabeth Children’s Home in a shared aim to enhance the interior environment and inspire, calm and motivate the children. Marion Pierre, Executive Chairperson of Queen Elizabeth Home comments: “I am seeing the mural in my dreams and every where even when I am away from the Home. It has not only brightened up the room but the hearts of us all. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the staff and children I thank you and ask God's blessings on all of you to continue the work you are doing.”

The mural painting project is one of many examples of REACH Grenada’s successful collaborative partnership with Grenadian people, a philosophy at the core of REACH Grenada’s work and successes. Neo Moreton, Executive Director of REACH Grenada took part in the painting and says: “This was a relatively simple task but one that has made an instant and effective improvement to the children’s environment. It was great to be a part of something that has really made a difference.”

It is also part of REACH Grenada’s wider aim to provide ongoing support to the children of Queen Elizabeth Home with additional funding going towards providing psycho-social counseling training for care workers and intern medical students as well as social emotional support through discussion groups and guidance in relaxation, breathing and meditation.



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23 September 2009
REACH Grenada are excited to announce two lucky prizewinners of their special New York City Marathon competition. Grenadian runners Marilyn Renwick and Marc de Caul have each won a place to join 21 other runners as part of ‘Team REACH Grenada’ and run in the world famous ING NYC Marathon, taking place on November 1st 2009, in order to raise money for REACH Grenada. The generous prize includes return flights to JFK New York City airport and guaranteed entry into the marathon race.

One of the competition’s conditions was that the entrants had to commit to raising sponsorship money, most of which will go directly towards funding the numerous ongoing initiatives and projects that REACH Grenada has implemented over the past two years.

Another requirement for successful entrants was the submission of a detailed outline of ideas for future REACH Grenada initiatives and projects that would directly benefit children in Grenada. This reflects REACH Grenada’s tradition of close collaboration with, and personal involvement of, the people of Grenada in its aim to create and develop projects that generate long term, sustainable funding and results. As Dr Karen Lawson, Director of The Bartholomew J. Lawson Foundation and Founder of REACH Grenada says:

“We are really excited to welcome Marilyn Renwick and Marc de Caul as part of ‘Team REACH Grenada’. Partnership is at the core of REACH Grenada’s work and is vital to its successes which continue to benefit the children of Grenada.”


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15 August 2009

REACH Grenada has generously provided $2,065 for a new computer to greatly improve the quality of learning for children with diverse Special Educational Needs (SEN) at St Andrew’s Special School, Grenada.

The funding of this much-needed SEN resource is part of REACH Grenada’s Partnership with Schools Program which aims to develop educational resources in some of Grenada’s schools.

Provision for Grenadian students with SEN is an area that has been largely under-funded due to the allocation of limited educational resources to mainstream students. The special computer’s touch screen technology, keyboard and range of educational software provide equal access to the curriculum for SEN students and enable a more personalized approach to their learning. By encouraging students to become independent learners, whilst recognising some of their individual challenges and needs, REACH Grenada hopes to enable all children to reach their full potential, thereby increasing their levels of confidence, self esteem and enjoyment of learning. The computer is a very welcome addition to St Andrew’s Special School as Principal Mirthlyn V.M Leid-Raymond comments:

"The students with Cerebral Palsy are finding it easier to use the equipment since it only requires a touch to access programs. We have language and maths programs with which the students have fun learning to read, spell and just using the computer in general. Basically, this computer is one of the most beneficial pieces of equipment the school possesses. THANK YOU REACH!!"

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27 July 2009
Working in collaboration with the Government of Grenada’s Ministry of Education, REACH Grenada has provided substantial funding to develop chicken projects to help support Grenada’s National School Feeding Program.

Chickens and Pupils

As part of our Partnership with Schools Program, REACH Grenada’s chicken project aims to provide ‘real’ learning opportunities for students in some of St Andrew’s Parish primary schools, by supporting schools’ mini business social enterprise, i.e. breeding and selling chickens and providing a supplementary source of meat for the National School Feeding Program.

REACH Grenada’s aim is that the chicken project will be a self sustaining, ongoing scheme for schools that will generate funds to improve schools’ resources, enhance the quality of students’ learning experience and teach children that productive farming benefits the community as well as the individual.

The enterprise is proving to be very successful, with students, schools and the community reaping the benefits of REACH Grenada’s generous contribution as some of the teachers’ comments confirm:
  • “The project provides first hand experience for students who may want to go into a small business operation”
  • “[The chickens] were sold mainly to the school feeding project and a few to the neighbors and teachers”
  • “It is our hope to continue this project with the aim of purchasing a photocopier at a cost of $5000 by year end.”
Sincere thanks to the Bartholomew J Lawson Foundation for Children for providing funding for this project and for other REACH Grenada charitable endeavors.

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29 May 2009
REACH Grenada has been accepted as a charity in this year’s ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 1st, having been awarded a team size of 25 people. Each runner must pledge to raise $2,500, which will directly benefit Grenada’s orphanages, hospitals, and schools, and improve the lives of Grenada’s children. To learn more or to become a part of this inspiring and motivated team, please click here.

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19 April 2009
REACH Grenada recently provided $5,358 US dollars worth of Jolly Phonics Learning Resources for the Primary Partnership with Schools to support early learning. This substantial order was placed with local supplier Michael Philbert of Grenada Teachers’ School Suppliers Ltd thus giving a boost to the local economy.

The recent contribution is part of a wider REACH Grenada literacy program, aiming to support schools to help improve child reading and writing skills. REACH Grenada Partnership with Schools Program got off to a great start in December 2008 with a two day Literacy Training event for school teachers of St Andrew Parish, led by UK literacy expert and consultant advisor to REACH Grenada, Elaine Moreton M.Ed. B.A.(Hons)

Training covered reading, spelling and writing and included interactive activities based on the latest research in brain learning. During day two teachers worked together to produce a booklet of activity sheets to develop pupils’ writing with subjects ranging from healthy eating, living things, growing seeds, spelling and basic literacy. Teacher’s evaluation comments show that the training days were highly valued and 100% of teachers said they would try suggested strategies in their classroom and that they would recommend the training to other teachers. Here are some of the teacher’s comments:

1]“Enlightening, enjoyable and educational.”
2] “Please ensure that this training reaches all the other teachers in our island.” 3]“I really enjoyed the day and found the workshop activity rewarding and interesting”.

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14 February 2009
REACH Grenada recently purchased $23,670 US dollars worth of computer equipment from local supplier D & S Stationary and Computer Services in Grenville, St. Andrew. The brand new lap top computers and printers along with a years supply of paper and ink have now been successfully installed in eighteen of St. Andrew primary and secondary schools. As well as giving a boost to the local economy, this generous donation improves the provision of quality computer equipment and it is hoped to encourage open dialogue between teachers to share successful teaching and learning strategies across schools.

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