The US Virgin Island's First Haitian Parenting Program
Creating Healthy Parental Relationships
The United States Virgin Islands, Access and Visitation Program, Paternity and Child Support Division of the Department of Justice contracted with the Sandra Garcon Degerville Ministries, LLC (now The Healing Institute, LLC) to create and administer the Department of Justice's first parenting program to the Haitian community of St. Thomas with the First Haitian Baptist Church as the program recipients.
Creating Healthy Parental Relationships was a 12 weeks virtual group designed to create healthy parental relationships by increasing the safety and well-being of children through teaching effective ways to co-parent.
A Pre-Test was conducted to help determine the participants' baseline in parenting education. Secondly, a Post-Test was conducted to determine whether the objectives of the course administered through the topics covered addressed or strengthened healthy parental relationships and improved dad's involvement in raising their children.
According to the Post-Test results and testimonies; the program overall was successful in strengthening parental relationships and increasing dad’s involvement in raising their children. Additionally, the program increased healthy communication, helped participants identify and practice love languages, and promoted the importance of a positive family dynamic.
The topics covered include:
1. Setting the atmosphere for effective co-parenting
2. Understanding power and control within relationships
3. The mother’s role in promoting a healthy father-child relationship
4. The cost of dad’s absent
5. The emotionally healthy Mother/Father
6. Conflict resolution and developing mutual respect
7. Setting mutual disciplines and structures
8. Identifying each other’s communication styles and love languages
9. Quality time with Dad/Mom
10. Keeping children physically and emotionally safe
This program targeted 2 demographics that have been historically and overwhelmingly underserved in the social service field, the faith-based community, and the Haitian community. About 80 participants started the program, and 51 participants made a commitment to show up every Monday for 12 weeks at the First Haitian Baptiste Church in Smithbay, St. Thomas to participate in this life-changing program.
The Honorable Denise N. George, Esq., Attorney General, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, DOJ, presented Pastors Saurel & First Lady Saurel a plaque of appreciation for FHBC being the program recipient and for successful collaboration at the graduation ceremony. AVI Administrator, Dr. Sharon McDonald is in the background. The clock is symbolic that the time to service the Haitian community is NOW!
Honorable Guests @ the graduation
The Honorable Attorney General Denise N. George, Esq., USVI,
The Honorable Senator Milton E. Potter,
VI Chief Deputy Attorney General, Thomas-Jacobs, Esq.,
IV-D Director, Paternity & Child Support Division, Terrence D. Joseph Access and Visitation Program Administrator, Dr. Sharon McDonald, Anya Stewart, Executive Director, Family Resource Center, Inc., St. Thomas
Special thanks to the Honorable Tregenza Roach, Esq., Lieutenant Governor of the USVI who missed the ceremony due to inclement weather in St. Croix
V.I. Dept. of Justice website: https://usvidoj.com/ceremony-held-for-the-first-parenting-program-for-the-haitian-community/
V.I. Source Article: https://stthomassource.com/content/2022/11/02/haitian-community-celebrates-first-parenting-program/
CBS USVI Top Story: https://youtu.be/0mIZiiVEsAo
The VIAVP website https://pcsd.vi.gov/viaccess/events/
A special thank you to the late IV-D Director, Paternity & Child Support Division,
What are people saying about this program?
“We would like to thank the parents and everyone who contributed to the success of this valuable parenting class. Strong families are the foundation of a strong community. Parenting programs like this go a long way in building good character, values, resilience, and life skills that prevent harmful behavior among our youths well into adulthood."
The Honorable Denise N. George, Esq.
Attorney General, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Department of Justice
“The AVP Team is overwhelmed by the success and outcome of the parenting class and the partnership of the First Haitian Baptist Church of St. Thomas. Thanks to Mrs. Sandra Garcon, Facilitator, Founder, CEO, Motivational Teacher & Coach who did a fantastic job with the parents. We are pleased to report that there is now a demand requesting more parenting services by the participants and other Haitian parents to sign up for classes in Creole."
Sharon Jackson-McDonald, Access Visitation Program Administrator
Enide, Mother of 5, Testimony
Thanks to Sandra Garcon for educating us in our language and thanks to the DOJ for facilitating this super program that gives us an outlet. I have learned many things that will benefit me, my family and a program I am presently involved in working with children.” Enide Michel, mother of 5.
Enide also shared, she had been praying for help and believed this program was God's answer so much so that though she recently started a new job, she told her manager that she needed the next 12 Mondays off so she can take a parenting class. Upon denial of her request she also inform them she wil unfortunately have to quit which forced them to allow her the 12 Mondays off she needed to participate in the program.
"It was important for us as the pastors to also take this class not only to model for our church but what we learned is helping us be better parents to our sons.
Pastors Saurel and First Lady Carmine