Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2021. 5:42 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Lifeline Foundation is assisting the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) to safely reopen its preschool and the Helping Early Leavers Program for teenagers to the tune of $12,500.
On Wednesday, Kim Simplis Barrow, Founder/Director of the Lifeline Foundation presented the YWCA interim General Secretary Diane Haylock, ex-Ambassador to Taiwan, a check for $8,000.00 at the YWCA Fellowship Hall in Belize City. Lifeline Foundation previously purchased three industrial sewing machines with a value of over $4,500 for the YWCA according to Sheryl Terry, a member of the YWCA Board of Directors.
Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the YWCA had to close its doors last year. At the time it had about 200 girls enrolled in their program. At this moment, the YWCA has reopened its daycare center, its preschool is operating online only, but its other programs like the Helping Early Leavers Program and the English as a Second Language program are still on hold.
The Lifeline assistance will help the YWCA tremendously in getting back to business said Haylock who is volunteering her services as the interim Secretary-General.
“This day, this moment that we are here marking is really important for us because if it weren’t for organizations and individuals and some companies that have responded to the call from the YWCA, we really wouldn’t be … here today,” said Haylock.
“So, it gives me absolutely great pleasure to thank the Lifeline Foundation, its Board of Directors, and its individuals that make the work of the foundation possible to thank them for this generosity of trying to help the YWCA to continue to deliver on its mission to better the lives of women, girls, and youth generally. In fact, our entire community.”
Haylock said that the YWCA president Jackie Santos Locke has been reaching out to every possible person that she could be trying to find the resources to reopen the doors of the YWCA.
Simplis Barrow said that like everybody else, Lifeline has been affected so that they have not been able to have any fundraisers but when they were approached by the YWCA seeking assistance, they couldn’t but help.
“We are so happy that our missions can align to include the lives of children especially, so it’s with pleasure that we hand this over to you,” she said.
“I have always been very impressed with the work that is done here. I have participated on numerous occasions with the Y, so for us, at Lifeline it is indeed a pleasure to be here this morning. It gives us a great sense of gratitude that we are able to help the Y to reopen its doors,” she added.
Member of the Lifeline Board of Directors Jackie Roe who took the lead in this project said that when they saw how the YWCA had been comprised because of the pandemic, the Lifeline Foundation had an easy decision.
“I think it was a matter of seeing that it wasn’t just the children that were being compromised. It was entire families that were not able to get on with their daily lives because the preschool wasn’t functioning the way it should do. So, the decision was easy,” said Roe.
“It’s a pleasure, it’s just a complete pleasure that we can contribute and be part of your present and your future. And we wish you all the best for 2022,” she added.
“The YWCA’s preschool program supports marginalized mothers and their children to access child care. This, in turn, allows for the mothers to go to work and earn an income,” said Lifeline Foundation on social media. “However, the YWCA notes that many mothers struggle to meet the school’s fees. Twenty-two (22) pre-schoolers, the maximum number of children who can be safely accommodated in the classrooms under Covid-19 protocols, will benefit from Lifeline’s contribution given the annual cost of $400 per child per year.”
Haylock said that the YWCA is “somewhat open, but still needing to be wide open to get back to the wonderful work it has been doing over 65 years since it was established in 1956”.
She said the Lifeline contribution will go a long way in helping in that regard.
“The contribution from Lifeline is really intended to help us to provide scholarships to some very needy children whose parents, as a result of the pandemic and also other social and economic conditions, have found it very difficult to pay the monthly schools fees of the children,” Haylock noted.
“At the preschool level, the YWCA used to depend on parents to support with cleaning supplies but parents were hit hard by the pandemic so the YWCA can’t rely on that anymore,” said Sheryl Terry, member of the YWCA Board.
“Because of social distancing we have 108 registered children about half what we normally would have,” said Haylock adding that classes are being done online and the intent is to return to face-to-face sessions or at least a hybrid system.
As to the Helping Early Leavers Program, Terry said it is a second-chance program for girls. The sewing machines will be used to restart that program for girls who are not in any formal education program so they can learn a skill at the YWCA.
The Lifeline Foundation, which was established in 2004, said it “has raised more than two million dollars, which has been used to support child-centered institutions and programs within Belize”.
“Lifeline remains committed to assisting Belize’s most valuable, and vulnerable assets, our children. We are confident, that with the support of the YWCA, all the beneficiaries will leverage this donation to enhance and increase their personal and professional skills,” Simplis Barrow added.
Also present at the handing over ceremony was Felice Williams, a member of the Board of Directors and accountant of the Lifeline Foundation.
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