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Community : Grand Bahama Last Updated: Nov 12, 2012 - 3:06:04 PM

HIV/AIDS Teen Pep Workshop January 11th, 2012 a success
By Odette Knowles, Red Rose Ball Committee
Feb 2, 2012 - 1:23:19 PM

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SLIDE SHOW photos: Guest Speaker, Mr. Garrick Davis, Vice President and CEO, LEADn3, affiliate of the Pacific Institute, Miramar, Florida speaks to the students at TEEN PEP

Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas - The 3rd session of the Teen Pep Workshop sponsored by the United States Embassy to the Bahamas and Hosted by the Red Rose Ball Committee held January 11th, 2012 was indeed a success. The workshop began at 11:00am at the Pelican Bay Resort under the theme “Prevention Now, Getting to zero”.

The Majority of High Schools on the Island participated in the event with a turnout of some 220 persons inclusive of Guidance counselors from the various schools.

Our MC for the event seasoned Toastmaster Jethro Dixon, Advance Communicator Silver/Advance Leader made sure everyone in attendance was enthusiastic about being a part of this much need workshop especially the students.  We were proud to see the school students all properly outfitted in school uniforms representing the various schools on the island of Grand Bahama.

Toastmaster Jethro Dixon, Advance Communicator Silver/Advance Leader

The idea of this program is geared towards getting teens to be more involved in positive communication with their peers.  The committee, targeting a specific age of the school population has provided them with the necessary tools and workshops to not only prevent them from becoming infected with HIV/AIDS but also educate themselves and their peers about HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Abstinence.  While the programme is not to encourage pre-marital sex the subject matter will be addressed to discourage the rising incidents of teen pregnancy and improve self-esteem among our teens.

The RRC is (100) one hundred percent committed to the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. The committee ever changing with the times is moving towards more than just a fund raising committee, but has now focus further to coordinate a youth branch of the organization TEEN PEP. These are the sentiments echoed by Odette Knowles, Chairman of the Red Rose Ball Committee/ Teem Pep Coordinator during her overview of the program.

It was time to impart good food for thought. Ms. Shaune Russell, student from St. Paul’s Methodist College introduced the Guest Speaker for the workshop Mr. Garrick Davis, Vice President and CEO, LEADn3, affiliate of the Pacific Institute, Miramar, Florida.
Dr. Augustine Oheuyi, Sr. Registrar of Internal Medicine at Rand Memorial Hospital

Mr. Davis’s presentation was so informative, educational and inspiring it also got the attention of the Guidance Counselors, Community Leaders, the host committee and alike, he encouraged listeners to always live a purpose filled life with all the gifts that they were born with and always strive to be an original in our pursuits, so when we die we won’t die a copy, trying to live as other people.

He also noted that we were not created to be a shadow of anyone else; he admonished listeners to discover their dreams, develop their character, identify their design and refine their gifts, which is education. All of the students were taking notes as Mr. Davis spoke.

During the question & answer period the students took the opportunity to participate, interacting with our guest panel of professionals who were available for questions of any kind.  Dr. Augustine Oheuyi, Sr. Registrar of Internal Medicine at Rand Memorial Hospital shed light on the different kinds of health issues occur in a person diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Dr. Oheuyi did not sugar coat any information, and he admonished the students to make wise choices when it comes to engaging in early sexual behaviors.

Ms. Shaune Russell, student from St. Paul’s Methodist College

The students also had an opportunity to interact with the Phi Beta Fraternity who together put on a Step/Rap performance about HIV/AIDS which was truly enjoyed by all.

Lunch for all students was donated by Mrs. Jennifer Williams, Subway, The Rotary Club and First Providence Baptist Church and Lunch for our Guest was prepared complimentary by the management of Pelican Bay Resort.

It was time to move on to the remaining portion of the workshop.  The Red Rose Ball Committee

Presented Certificates and gift bags to the sponsor, Mr. kyle Hatcher, Representative from the United States Embassy to the Bahamas, Partner, Mrs. Della Bridgewater, Manager at Pelican Bay Resort, Guest Speaker, Mr. Garrick Davis, Vice President and CEO, LEADn3, affiliate of the Pacific Institute, Miramar, Florida for their support of this workshop and believing in the program.

Mr. Kyle Hatcher, Economic Officer brought remarks on behalf of the United States Embassy, Nassau; he thanked the RRBC for and excellent job with putting on the workshop to assist in the education of HIV/AIDS in the Bahamas, he noted that PEPFAR was launched in 2003 by United states President George Bush The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, also known as PEPFAR, is America's initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and is now part of the Global Health Initiative.

Presentation by Red Rose Ball Committee members to Economic Officer, Kyle Hatcher. United States Embassy to the Bahamas

Since 2004 PEPFAR has committed more than $30 billion to funding for the AIDS epidemic.1 PEPFAR continues to represent the largest financial commitment by a single country to responding to HIV and AIDS worldwide.

Mr. Hatcher congratulated the RRBC committee for going above and beyond to help in the fight of HIV/AIDS in the Bahamas. He noted that the expansion and improvement of HIV and AIDS education around the world is critical to preventing the spread of HIV, he mentioned that there are an estimated 34 million people living with the virus, and each year millions more people become infected.

These are some of the reasons why PARFAR offered the grant to various Groups, Committees and volunteers. 1. Effective HIV/AIDS education can help prevent new infections by providing people with information about HIV and how it is passed on, and in doing so equip individuals with the knowledge to protect themselves from becoming infected with the virus.

Presentation by Red Rose Ball Committee members to Della Bridgewater of Pelican Bay Hotel

HIV/AIDS education also plays a vital role in reducing stigma and discrimination.  2. around the world, there continues to be a great deal of fear and stigmatization of people living with HIV, which is fuelled by misunderstanding and misinformation. This not only has a negative impact on people living with HIV, but can also fuel the spread of HIV by discouraging people from seeking testing and treatment. Mr. Hatcher closed by offering the committee to reapply for the grant for 2012 to continue the good work started to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The 4th, session for TEEN PEP will be held before the close of the Easter School Term.

Again, we the RRBC thank the schools, principals, parents and students for participating in the TEEN PEP program 2011 and look forward to your continued participation in the new school year in September of 2012

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