Youth benefit from Kiwanis One Day project


Youth benefit from Kiwanis One Day project

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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YOUTH affiliated with Kiwanis Club Division 23 East were last Saturday treated to a virtual health fair which focused on mental health topics as part of its Kiwanis One Day project to help people cope with the the challenges of COVID-19.

The health fair catered to approximately 100 youth associated with various Kiwanis service leadership projects — Key Club, Aktion Club, and Circle K — in the division.

One of the day's highlights was a session on stress management techniques organised by the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, which is part of the Kiwanis Division East, that focused on helping teens at Homestead Place of Safety and within Division 23 East.

Verol Billet, licensed associate clinical psychologist, who took the children through a session titled 'Understanding Stress', allowed participants to identify the stressors in their life, group them based on negative and positive stressors, and understand preventative and reactive measures to help them cope.

“When we understand stress we understand what triggers our stress response, how we respond to stress, and we realise that we now need to find a way to cope, which is about balancing our demands which are stressing us out with our resources necessary to meet these demands,” Billet explained.

“Stress is not just a mental thing, it's a whole body experience. We feel it in our bodies, we feel it in our minds, and it can affect our social interaction...We must know how to refill our bodies so when another situation arises we are fine, as we have our tool kit fit and ready to go,” he said.

“A part of meeting demands and handling stress effectively is asking yourself 'who am I?' Ask yourself what is happening to me and try not to ask yourself what is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with you. Your brain can never find an answer to that question. However, if you ask what is happening to me you will find an answer either within yourself or from others who believe in you. When you find that answer stress will be another thing you get over and continue pushing to be an awesome person,” Billet advised.

Dipti Shahdadpuri, associate clinical psychologist and guidance counsellor, took the participants through stress management techniques which included deep breathing; filtering stressful information; avoiding toxic interactions and friendships; planning ahead; making realistic and achievable to-do lists or schedules; compromising; as well as balancing and adapting to situations as they change.

Shahdadpuri further encouraged the participants to find the silver lining in stressful situations they may experience and be as positive as is possible.

Danielle Mullings, president of the Faculty of Science and Technology Guild Committee, The University of the West Indies, Mona; and Tashique Gibson, external affairs chair of the committee, charged the participants to adapt to the changes 2020 has brought and move forward as people of potential.

“Allow yourself to teeter until you find that balance in the new normal. Give yourself grace and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you do. We're all trying to figure things out,” Mullings said.

Gibson added: “Try to find happiness where you are in life, and the best point to do that is to find something to be grateful for. Find something to smile about in your day.”

Other projects included donations to National Chest Hospital, Mona Chapel Basic School, Randolph Lopez School of Hope, and the Hope Hospice.

Meanwhile, Kiwanis Division 23 East Lieutenant Governor Don Gittens lauded the event as relevant to the situation facing Jamaicans amid COVID-19.

“Kiwanis One Day was a fantastic day, with great support from all the Kiwanis family and our stakeholders. The concept was also great as we held many projects simultaneously on the day and connected all who couldn't participate due to COVID via Zoom. We started with a stress management presentation by the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston at the Homestead Place of Safety, where we also donated two tablets and a desktop computer. We then moved to free medical checks for the kids at Glenhope Place of Safety, where we also donated a dryer as well as installed hand sanitiser stations, to giving care packages to the nurses at the maternity ward at the University Hospital of the West Indies,” Gittens said.

“The division renovated a house, a basic school, and developed herb gardens at schools for [students with] disabilities. Other activities included giving blood and donating sanitising agents to the Blood Bank and many other projects on the day. All in all, it was a tremendous day for the kids we serve and continue to serve... We intend to be flexible, agile, and munificent, given COVID; and we intend to reach as many children as possible,” he said.

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