The Daily Herald announces “The Prince and the Pauper” this evening, Friday, July 12, at 6 pm in The Bottom. The youth production is the outcome of a series of week-long faith-based workshopsTheir leader is Phyllis Stroud, resident of La Puente, California, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. The group from St. Stephen’s Baptist Church is made up of five women and three men, working in various ministries. The youngest, Hanna, age 15, is joined by her father, Leroy Spauree, who was born and raised in Nevis.
Stroud first visited Saba in 1999, when she met Reverend Vernon Liburd of Wesleyan Church, his family and his parish at the time affected by a hurricane that destroyed their church in St. John’s. Since then she returned regularly to the island with groups of American volunteers. She does therapy work with teenagers and parents, helping them with relationship challenges. She noted children have trouble expressing their feelings and this leads to social integration challenges, decreased academic performance, thoughts of suicide, challenges with bullying, cutting or drug and alcohol addictions.
The faith-based workshops, she explained, incorporated church music, while positively reinforcing supportive friendships. Within the workshops, the youth talked about broad topics, such as peer pressure, bullying, family rules, tattoos, dating, depression and even thoughts of suicide. “Children had many things to say,” said Stroud. “They open up about social media and its complexities.” These discussions occur during arts and crafts activities, and this year, Body, Mind and Spirit (BMS) Foundation on Saba assisted the group with craft materials, but also with an array of informational brochures that could guide the discussions. The approach is to nurture an environment, where the youth feel safe to communicate in a candid way about the challenges they experience, including pressures associated with being a teenager in a small community.
BMS Foundation is actively searching to engage community leaders and faith-based groups interested in co-hosting family-oriented workshops covering challenging aspects, such as addictions, parent-child talks about sexuality, abstinence, relationships, youth’s self-esteem and peer pressure. The foundation hopes that the faithbased support will help build a better-informed and more resilient community of healthy individuals, as well as a more inclusive and tolerant community.