THE Sandals Foundation and the Nassau Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority have announced a partnership in support of a community-based outreach initiative designed to provide education and support to teenage mothers and promote awareness to help reduce teen pregnancy.
The organisations hope to continue to raise funds for PACE (Providing Access to Continued Education) and the refurbishment of a new support centre that will ensure young mothers are provided with a resource that accommodates administrative, health care, nursery and academic services.
Approximately 700 teenage girls are impregnated each year in the Bahamas, with about 20 per cent becoming pregnant again while still in their teenage years. Designed specifically as a Bahamian programme, but with reach in other Caribbean Islands, PACE provides education and support to teenage mothers, promoting awareness of policies to help reduce teen pregnancy.
Through the programme, young women in need receive personal care items, clothing and food for their children, themselves, and sometimes their family; weekly mentoring on a range of topics, including pregnancy prevention, legal rights, budgeting, and motivational techniques; weekly spiritual enrichment sessions; access to information technology and skills training to assist mothers with the tools needed to rejoin the workforce; and ongoing support.
The initiative affords potential Bahamian partners the opportunity to understand the work of the Nassau Alumnae chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta organisation - which is 350,000 women strong worldwide - and the Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, will be undertaking.
Potential partners attending last week’s announcement included Colombian Emeralds International, CIBC First Caribbean, JetBlue and Royal Bank of Canada.
President of The Nassau Alumnae Chapter, Jeunesse Osadebay-Bullard, is seeking to rally her organisation to highlight the alarming pregnancy rate in the Bahamas and to support efforts of the PACE programme.
“The opportunity afforded to us to partner with the Sandals Foundation is one that allows us to continue our efforts as an organisation to promote our Sorority’s ‘five point programmatic thrust’ of educational development, economic development, political awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and international awareness and involvement,” said Mrs Osadebay-Bullard.
“We continue to establish ourselves as a public service organisation that addresses the needs and issues in our community. Working with the Sandals Foundation has been an amazing experience. The idea that we are able to create synergies that affect so many young ladies in a positive way is what encourages us and will for years to come. As Mark Twain once said, ‘Synergy is the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously’ and this simply describes it all.”
Successful completion of the PACE programme is the only means by which teenage mothers are allowed re-entry into the public schools thus giving them an opportunity to complete their education. In turn, these teenage mothers are better prepared and equipped for gainful employment, which reduces the chances that they will live a life of poverty and social dependence.
“We are thrilled to be working alongside the Bahamian Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta to join in our efforts to support PACE and raise needed funds for their programmes. With their wide network of alumni and supporters across not only the Caribbean but also the world, we are very hopeful that we can continue to ‘set the pace’ for young women providing needed education, mentoring and support, said Adam Stewart, President of the Sandals Foundation. “Together, we can make a remarkable impact on the lives of many young girls and change the outcome for generations to follow.”