Happy Community Initiative supports Family Center Piedra Plat: Motivational learning for teenagers within a family setting

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Foundation Centro Famia Piedra Plat_ translated Family Center Piedra Plat_ is a safe haven for teens from the neighborhood as well from any part in Aruba. On a plot of about 200 square meters in the neighborhood of Piedra Plat you will find a warm, family-oriented foundation offering four different activity centers for children, teens and adults. By donating to Aruba’s Visitor Charity Program, the recently-launched Happy Community Initiative (HCI), you can support this foundation and help build our youth strong.

Founder/president Adri Berg has always felt the importance of a secure and healthy family life and his love for the neighborhood Piedra Plat drove him to start this foundation. Verna Croes, Secretary: “The center develops and offers different activities, we do believe in the Christian values and principles, but there is neither influence off nor legislative connection to the church. Our goal is to strengthen the foundation of family by offering social, physical, spiritual, educational and cultural activities as well as to stimulate talent for our youth.”

Centro di Educacion Creativo (CEC) meaning Center of Creative Education offers afterschool guidance for secondary education students between the ages of 13 – 21 years-old, three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. “The program is based on motivational learning. They can do their homework here and we provide guidance as well as materials. Besides that we offer them leisure activities like sports, music and arts & crafts,” says Verna. It is important to offer a mix of study and leisure to help the teens feel free and at ease. Teachers help as volunteers and there is one coordinator, Cathy Figaroa, to make sure all is organized well and there is always someone to listen to the youngsters. “Many times they want to be heard and are looking for a way to express themselves.”

Living it Up
Social issues are current in Aruban society. The focus is more on material belongings like labels, the newest devices and so on, according to experts in the field of social support. “Parents nowadays make sure their children have all material goods they need and may think this is love, but what teens need more of is attention and guiding,” Verna explains. To keep up with the high costs of living many parents work fulltime and no one is at home after school time. The teens lack structure and parents often have no idea what is happening in their child’s life. Add to that the high percentage of single parents on the island and it is obviously a challenge to combine work with family. Becoming a parent at a young age is another issue that can cause complications. “They still have the need to party and are not ready to settle down and stay at home to guide their children as should be. In many cases the grandparents take over, but they are not that connected anymore with this generation of teens and things can get complicated.”

Successful Year
The past school year about 40 teens participated in the program and all of them have passed, something the foundation is proud of. They receive some support from local businesses and a foundation in The Netherlands, but the costs are exceeding the income. “Average costs are 200 florins per month per participant, but our asking fee is 100 florins per month and not all students actually pay. But we do not refuse anyone.” The foundation wishes to proceed with their good work and comply with their goal to create cohesion in the neighborhood. To do that they could absolutely use your support as they depend on volunteers and sponsors for a major part. With your donation to HCI the foundation will reach their goals and help teens accomplish their studies. “Visitors are free to stop by and we will show them around. A shout out to teachers as well, whom help us with their expertise on a voluntary base. We are grateful for all the help we can get.”

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The Happy Community Initiative is a visitor charity program that you can help strengthen Aruba’s community by donating to good causes. CEDE Aruba, a dynamic community foundation, the Aruba Timeshare Association (ATSA), the Aruba Tourism Authority and several companies collaborate in this platform for visitors who would like to make a donation, but also volunteer in the future. The priority is set to support projects for Aruban youths. CEDE Aruba will make sure that the donations reach meaningful projects of local non-profits, based upon quality and transparency of finances of the offered programs. In this manner, you can be assured that your donation will reach its goal! With your donation, you support Aruban children with after school programs, mentorship activities and social support. You can donate at the kiosks in the lobby of several hotels (Costa Linda, Playa Linda, Paradise Beach Villas and La Cabana) or you can donate on the website: https://happycommunityaruba.org/donate.

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