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CHANGING ONE CHILD CAN ‘MAKE A DIFFERENCE’

PROGRAMME DIRECTOR Kathy Harper-Hall (centre) speaking during the Sport For Life opening ceremony as chairman Brenda Pope (left) and trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Pippa Challis, look on. (Picture by Ria Goodman.)

THE DIFFERENCE needs only to start with one child.

This was the view of trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Pippa Challis, during the opening ceremony of the start of another
season of the Sport For Life programme at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

“The way the trust looks at it is if we can change the life of one child then we have made a difference. If we can change the life of
one child and one family in Barbados then we might be moving the boat somewhere else, we might be changing the direction
of the nation.

“I have just handed over a cheque of $25 000 to keep the programme running but your deal is that you have to be the best that you can be and come out and try,” she said. Challis explained that the trust, which started as a charity dedicated to assisting children but currently assists in areas of health and education, was community focused to ensure a bright future for the island.

“One of our focuses is always community and we class Sport For Life as one of our community projects. That doesn’t mean that we are looking at you as a community of people but to us it is important that we sponsor projects like this because you are the future of this
wonderful island.

“You are going to make it; you are special and you are going to be the ambassadors for Sport For Life and for good education and community projects like this going forward. The special part is the end result, to be able to come to the graduation and see the result of all their hard work.”

Programme director Kathy Harper-Hall said the programme, which was developed out of the 2007 World Cup, had taken in 32 children for its tenth staging while 28 graduated from the last programme. Speaking to those gathered for the ceremony which included parents of children and volunteers, she explained to their parents that the programme wasn’t only to help the children but to assist them in doing their jobs as parents more efficiently.

“It is not a boot camp. Children have challenges, and our role is to help them with those challenges. It’s not just for the children; it’s also for the parents to help the children,” she said. Chairman of the programme, Brenda Pope, said the programme’s presence had indeed had a positive impact on the scores of youth who participated as well as their families and those who come into direct contact with them.

“We have found doing research and talking with the students is that this programme is not only about the ones that attend here and what they do for the six hours they are with us but it is all about our motto – that the choices we make determine the future that we will have.

“In the last ten years the programme has impacted positively the lives of approximately 600 youngsters who passed through, but not only those individual youngsters but the lives of their parents, their siblings and the lives of their classmates as well,” said Pope.