St. Eustatius starts Strong Roots pilot in schools

Carol Jack-Roosberg, Director of Social Affairs, Mervyn Stegers, Deputy Government Commissioner and Malvern Dijkshoorn-Lopes, Act. Island Secretarym showing the material to be used for the programme. Photo: GIS

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- Effective January 2020 a pilot programme, known as Strong Roots, will be introduced in schools on St. Eustatius.

The Strong Roots prevention programme is tailor made for St. Eustatius and underlines the ambition expressed in the recent Caribbean Netherlands Sport and Prevention Agreement signed on May 14th, 2019, between the Ministry Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) and the Public Entity of St. Eustatius. The purpose of this programme is to create more self-knowledge, self-confidence and healthy future perspectives among the island’s youth. This programme will be facilitated by Public Health Department of the Directorate of Social Affairs.

“Globally there is certain urgency with regards to youngsters handling alcohol, drugs, healthy relationships and hidden diseases.  To make sure we on St. Eustatius are tackling our worrying results in the future, the prevention programme “Strong Roots” has been developed, which consists of teaching modules for youngsters between the ages of 6-18 years”, says Deputy Government Commissioner, Mervyn Stegers.

The teaching modules are divided in 5 themes; physical development, social emotional development, reproduction & planned parenthood, assertiveness, sexuality, alcohol and drugs.

Subjects such as your own body, self-image, assertiveness, differences between boys and girls, friendships, falling in love, changes in puberty, reproduction, pregnancy, sexuality, online/offline behaviour, STD’s will be a part of the programme. Later in 2020, other important subjects such as healthy eating, (St. Eustatius) culture and studying abroad will be added to the programme.

“The involvement of teachers, educators, parents, local government and after school programmes is vital for this programme to succeed. Facilitating and promoting the programme with dialogue and discussion, especially in class, should make this programme a popular and effective way of reaching youngsters”, Carol Jack-Roosberg, Director of the Directorate of Social Affairs.

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