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Uriah McPhee students benefit from donation of Child Protection guide books
By Matt Maura
May 9, 2021 - 3:00:06 PM

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Representatives from the National Child Protection Council and the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre presented almost one hundred books on child protection to the Uriah McPhee Primary School as part of the activities commemorating Child Protection Month. The Free Town Urban Renewal Centre also presented the students with hygiene kits. School Principal Mrs. Pamela Armaly accepted the donations on behalf of the students. Pictured (from left) are: Mrs. Valencia Ferguson, Fifth-Grade Teacher, Uriah McPhee Primary School; Principal Armaly; Dr. Novia T. Carter-Lookie; Mrs. Antonette Anderson, Mrs. Loretta Mackey and Miss Samantha Seymour. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Nassau, The Bahamas – Officials of the National Child Protection Council (NCPC), the Child Protection Month Committee and the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre recently teamed up with Administrators, Staff and Fifth-Grade students of Uriah McPhee Primary School to commemorate Child Protection Month.

The collaboration resulted in almost 100 of the NCPC’s “Say No, Then Go” Colouring Books being donated to the students.  School Principal, Mrs. Pamela Armaly, accepted the books on behalf of the students to ensure that the health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health to stop/limit the community spread of COVID-19 were adhered to.  Crayons were also provided to the students.

The students were also presented with hygiene kits that included masks and hand sanitizers, along with a number of other items, by the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre and Centre Manager Mrs. Loretta Mackey as a means of further keeping them protected from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Written by Dr. Novia T. Carter-Lookie, a Child Psychologist who also serves as the Co-Chairperson of the National Child Protection Council, the Colouring Book is an interactive Educational and Safety Guide that provides information on Safe and Unsafe Touches -- including five personal safety rules about touching, and the Rights of a Child, a United Nations Convention that was developed in 1989 to protect children from abuse, neglect and discrimination. The book also includes Resource Telephone numbers for key agencies including the National Child Abuse Hotline (New Providence and Grand Bahama), the Crisis Centre Hotline (New Providence and Grand Bahama), the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Unit and others.

Mrs. Loretta Mackey (left), Centre Manager, Free Town Urban Renewal Centre presented Uriah McPhee Primary School Principal, Mrs. Pamela Armaly, with gift bags containing masks and hand sanitizers during a brief visit. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Dr. Carter-Lookie said the “Say No, Then Go” Colouring Book and the accompanying Stop ‘N Tink Colouring Books, not only teach primary school students about the various forms of abuse and bullying, but also how to respond to those threats.

“The ‘Say No, Then Go’ Colouring Book not only helps them to understand, but to also be able to communicate which actions constitute a threat, how to respond when someone threatens them, and to know that the community helpers are there to assist. Those community helpers of course would be the teachers, guidance counselors, nurses and police officers, among others.”

Dr. Carter-Lookie applauded School Principal Armaly, the Administration and Staff for their efforts in observing National Child Protection Month.

“The push to protect our children from all forms of abuse is a collective effort,” Dr. Carter-Lookie said. “Our programme is designed to instruct children throughout the primary school grade level in understanding their roles as children within our society, and our commitment as a country to their well-being. I thank you madam for being a stakeholder in this key initiative and we look forward, as always, for the National Child Protection Council being there to safeguard our children and assist you in all of your efforts to do likewise.”

School Principal Armaly thanked the NCPC and Free Town Urban Renewal Centre for their contributions to the school’s mission to create life-long learning opportunities for its students.

“We are constantly thinking of ways in which we can protect our children because they are indeed our future,” Mrs. Armaly said.” For children to be able to ‘Say No, Then Go,’ that speaks volumes, that’s power and at the end of the day we are creating life-long learning.”

Mrs. Loretta Mackey, Centre Manager, Free Town Urban Renewal Centre, said the collaboration was an extension of the various services the Centre consistently provides to the community. She said the fact that the collaboration took place during Child Protection Month, was just: “the icing on the cake.”

“Our Centre has always been a safe haven for the children of our community and so today was just an extension of that. The opportunity to provide the children with masks and hand sanitizers filled a need for many of them and so we were excited to be able to facilitate that,” Mrs. Mackey said.

“The partnership today shows our children that there are various entities out there that care about them; that are willing to combine their efforts to ensure their safety and protection. The children really are our future and if we don’t protect them at an early age and instill good values in them, they will go astray. To have a better country we have to ensure that our little ones and are youth are well-protected and not taken advantage of,” Mrs. Mackey added.

Principal Armaly said the partnership with the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre, has been a blessing for the school.

“We developed a partnership with the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre upon my arrival in 2017,” Mrs. Armaly said. “They have made us (administrators and staff) feel welcomed; they have made us feel appreciated. Whenever they have programmes, they would always include us.  The Centre, has in the past, also assisted us at assemblies and with the school’s summer programme prior to COVID-19. This partnership that we have developed has been beneficial. Uriah McPhee Primary School cannot go anywhere without positive partnerships and I must say that the Free Town Urban Renewal Centre is making a difference and we can feel it at Uriah McPhee Primary School,” Mrs. Armaly added.

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