This chant continued as over 50 people marched into the Tutu Park Mall, to rally against child and youth abuse within the U.S Virgin Islands!
On April 13th, members of the community joined the initiative charged by the Family Resource Center to bring community awareness towards child abuse and prevention efforts. Although according to KIDS COUNT data, the trends of child abuse numbers continue to decrease, the prevalence of these rates is still alarming. There is much work to be done to ensure that children (especially) are provide with care, support, and safety as they grow within our community; and the work needs to continue. We must celebrate and acknowledge those who have endured and overcome such traumatic experiences, and those who continue to support these initiatives to ensure the need for these resources will become obsolete in the future.
Stop Child Abuse in the Virgin Islands!
(AS COPIED FROM FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER DENIM DAY CAMPAIGN EMAIL 4/23)
→ Report sexual assault and child abuse by calling 911
→ Add the Teal Ribbon as your profile picture on social media accounts
→ Wear jeans for "Denim Day" on April 29th (Protest Against the Stereotyping of Victims)
→ Listen to a "Faith Intervention" Every Thursday on 102.1 FM Life Radio
→ Wear Black on Thursdays for "Thursdays in Black" against rape and gender based violence
→ Don't engage in gossip about victims or use sexually oppressive language
→ If you encounter a victim or survivor, don't judge them or ask them 'why' they did or did not take certain actions; simply say "I'm here for you," Or ask "How can I help?"
→ If you are a victim of sexual assault, contact the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas, St. John & Water Island at (340) 776-3966
or Women's Coalition of St. Croix at (340) 773-9272
→ If you struggle with abusive behaviors, please contact Men Terminating Violence at(340) 776-3966
or the Men's Coalition of St. Croix at (340) 778-2161
→ Keep a positive attitude daily, speak words of kindness and conduct acts of love.
Sexual Assault can happen to anyone so take a stand today and support victims and survivors of sexual assault by making a choice to ACT!
Community Organization Meetings
On Thursday February 21st and Friday 22nd, members of the USVI KIDS COUNT team meet with a variety of community organizations on St.Thomas and St. Croix respectively. This opportunity for an open dialogue and exchange prompted rich discussions and provided great insight into where certain needs in our community are to be addressed. From the St. Thomas meeting we were able to have in attendance, Anya Stuart (Executive Director of the Family Resource Center), Rosalia Rohan (Director of University Bound Summer Program), Scott Bradley (Founder of My Brother's Workshop), Vaughn A. Walwyn (District Manger for the Division of Juvenile Justice (DHS) – STT/STJ), and Renee M. Andre (Esquire -Law Offices of Marjorie Roberts, PC). One highlighted theme from this thoughtful discussion centered around the math/funding problem that has intersected our territory and not the problem with children. The rise in social service cost has continued, and through not only overlooking our existing programs we are not funding the ones that do exist appropriately. This unequal balance as well as other needs of critical attention are of high concern and will lay the foundation for future recommendations and actions that take place.
Congruently, on St. Croix similar needs were expressed aimed to address the needs of children and families not only living on St. Croix but the territory as a whole. This conversation brought together Susan Diverio (Director of Education Programs at the St. Croix Women's Coalition), Frandelle Gerad (Executive Director of Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism (CHANT)), Resa O'Reilly (Founder of Project Promise),
Eurkres Rallings (Executive Director of Virgin Islands Partners for Healthy Communities) and Amilyn Agustus (Case Manager for Virgin Islands Partners for Healthy Communities). Additionally, Congresswoman Stacy Plasket joined for a part of the meeting and indicated practical solutions and recommendations, especially concerning federal priorities that will greatly impact the territory. There also was a common theme for the needs to collect, share, and utilize data. This push and critical effort to obtain relevant and well organized and dis-aggregated data are truly crucial. Though hopeful for change the culmination of these meetings indicated a deep need and desire to address the issues facing our most vulnerable populations. There is much work to be done, but we have incredible community members on the front line working to alleviate these deeply-rooted challenges.
Annie E. Casey Foundation & USVI KIDS COUNT Reception
Graciously hosted at the home of Susan Lugo and George Dudley, the USVI KIDS COUNT Reception brought together a variety of stakeholder and community members to celebrate the 20 years presence of KIDS COUNT within the territories. This intimate gathering allowed for the members of the Annie E Casey team to meet a wide range of persons and gain a deeper understanding to the challenges and needs of U.S Virgin Islanders.
For three days, February 16-18, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) and Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands (LSSVI) invited children and families to visit their Play & Learn Tent at the 48th Annual Agricultural and Food Fair at the Fairgrounds on St. Croix.
The Play & Learn Tent is designed to encourage children and parents to engage together in play and developmentally appropriate activities. This year’s event emphasized STEM based hands-on activities such as slime-making, flower painting, and creating "rain clouds" to promote learning through fun. Early childhood professionals from LSSVI’s Early Head Start Program guided children and their parents through these inviting activities.
We look forward to seeing you next year!!
As Governor Albert Bryan Jr. explored the current state of the U.S. Virgin Islands, there were many references to the challenges facing children and families.
USVI KIDS COUNT is committed to sharing data and best practices related to enhancing the well-being of children and families in the Territory. Through data-informed advocacy, we seek to identify and address legislative, administrative, and programmatic policy changes that will ultimately improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.
The link has highlighted portions of the speech that relate to data referenced in our annual Kids Count Data Books. The full speech text can also be found within the link below.
wHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Impact of Community Engagement
CFVI is committed to convening stakeholders to discuss and address the challenges facing our children and families.
WHy Get Involved?
USVI KIDS COUNT IS COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT THE COMMUNITY HAS TOOLS TO EVALUATE WHERE CANDIDATES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS STAND WITH RESPECT TO MAKING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES A PRIORITY IN THE UPCOMING TERM.
Advocacy in USVI 2018 Election
The Territory's children and families are facing serious challenges. Lack of readiness to enter kindergarten, high rates of child poverty, and lack of health insurance are just some of the factors making it difficult for families to raise thriving children. When our systems fail our children and families, the whole Territory faces the consequences.
In an effort to encourage meaningful dialogue about the issues facing children and families, CFVI compiled a list of questions to assist constituents in evaluating the stances of 2018 candidates for elected office.
Candidates running for office were extended an opportunity to provide responses to these questions, to be posted on our website and social media pages. By doing so, they enabled voters to be well-informed concerning candidate thoughts and action plans for addressing critical issues.
USVI KIDS COUNT is a project of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. (CFVI) Part of the national initiative sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT provides a detailed community-by-community picture of the condition of children nationwide.