Happy Community Initiative supports Heart-centered Leadership Foundation “By empowering the young generation, you get great adults”

The Heart-centered Leadership Foundation is a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to assist and empowering schools, youth-serving organizations, teachers, and parents to better serve our world’s youth and prepare them to lead healthy, fulfilling and successful lives. Through the recently-launched Happy Community Initiative (HCI) you can support this foundation and help build our youth strong.

Project coordinator Keyla Rojas: “We focus on personal development and offer different programs like after school programs, seminars, counseling and coaching. We envision a new generation of young people who are responsible, resilient and respectful.” The foundation focused on a secondary school drop-out prevention program and worked in three different schools over the last five years. “We identify risk factors as in the individual, the family, the pull and push out flows. This can be the school climate (rules, teachers support and so on), pregnancy or teenage fathers and financial crises within the family. We work together with the school counselors and care coordinators in this.” Most students wanted to participate and it went very well. Nathan Tromp, volunteer: “Drop-out is often an attack to the self-esteem, creating feelings like I am not enough, I cannot do it. In my volunteer work for the foundation I want to be that person that turns this around.”

Some Facts
Millions of people around the world love Aruba, the ONE HAPPY ISLAND and the home away from home! Tourism in Aruba is performing well. However, in Aruba, about 6 of 10 youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 are alone, or without adult supervision after school. In most cases, it is because their parents are working. In addition to this, many of Aruba’s youngsters experience boredom. Often there is a lack of activities during vacation and limited opportunity to travel. Furthermore, 4-out-of-10 Aruban youngsters do not complete secondary school. This is a very big issue that will eventually have a detrimental impact on Aruba’s future economy and the tourism industry. A recent study found at least 60% of Aruba’s youth is asking for afterschool programs, aimed at sports; cooking; art programs, and a safe place to hang out with their friends.

The Heart
Siouxsie Kock, founder of the Heart-Centered Leadership Foundation in 2008, comes from the education system. From working with older teens she saw the necessity for these programs based on heart-centered leadership. Keyla: “They lead from the heart; decisions are made by feeling unique and having integrity. Not by personal gain but what I can do for others.”Kock saw the Achievements and Commitment to Excellence Program (ACE) in Los Angeles school area and was determined to bring this to Aruba. “The intention was to have 100 leaders from organizations and schools participating. We brought this program to the schools. Parents saw amazing improvement in their child and requested it for their other children.”

Nathan started volunteering because he can find himself in this work. “I was looking for some meaning in my life. It brings me joy, the smiles on people’s faces is rewarding. It feels good to help others. If you educate the young generation, you get great adults not only on school results but in empathy, loveliness and resilience.” AshnaThijsen is youth coordinator and always has felt like serving the community. “We as citizens have a responsibility to care and emphasize and help out. Everyone needs people, guidance and support. By donating you are contributing and investing in the young generation. In their future, and in a progression of the island. If this is your second home and you love Aruba you would like to care about it, right? You help building this society strong by contributing.”

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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, and the Aruba Timeshare Association (ATSA) collaborates 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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