Our team’s principle focus as we continued programming and preparation of Heritage Education Arts Legacy (HEAL) VICCC Recovery Project [HEAL VICCC RP] included expanding the integration of themes of healing, recovery and repair within our St. Croix community. HEAL VICCC RP continued to use educational programs linked directly to the Caribbean Cultural Studies education programs as seasonal themes for teaching sustainable methods for disaster recovery and mitigation techniques- especially in light of the current hurricane season from June to November annually. Emphasis on intergenerational HEALing continued to focus upon helping our youth, our families and our visitors to our AyAy St. Croix community to respectfully share and care for one another on this road of healing, resilience, recovery and preparation post-IrMaria. Continued partnership events included annual fall equinox meetings in alignment with National Public Lands Day with National Park Service in Christiansted, St. Croix Maroon Sanctuary observances and heritage hikes in August and September respectively. Our team continued with the #HEALRecoverPrepare mantra throughout our community and educational site based events! One of our HEAL VICCC RP event participants shared the following in September 2019: "Thank you VICCC for helping us to help ourselves in understanding options for handling rains, many hurricane warnings and making our disaster home kits absent of terrifying fear of our safety on St. Croix-especially during the 3+ hurricanes that came so close to St. Croix we were scared to death! Your programs keep us informed on how to heal and recover as best we can."
The HEAL VICCC RP team continued to host focus groups, informative visual arts exhibitions, hurricane recovery resource networking, edutainment events (educational entertainment) and community Bamboula (creative cultural conversations) on a bi-monthly basis to intergenerational participants. Disaster preparation via culturally-infused STEAM programming were integrated with the culture, history and educational heritage of several VI US historical ancestral icons and historic events celebrated and commemorated in this quarter’s programming included: VI Freedom Week and VI Emancipation Day [June 26-July3]; Edward Wilmot Blyden Day [August 3]; West Indies Solidarity Day [September 2]; David Hamilton Jackson and U.S. Public Lands Day [September 28]; and related AyAy St. Croix based cultural heritage awareness activities with public, parochial and private K-12 schools during this reporting period. HEAL VICCC RP continued to use cultural heritage narratives and visual arts presentations on each of these cultural tradition stewards/trailblazers and heritage events linked to strategies of empowerment and awareness for our participants and wider community to embrace our mantra of #HEALRecoverPrepare with practical application. Solar powered batteries and lights along with portable water purification and testing kits were requested by participants for future reporting periods.
Heritage tours to St. George Botanical Gardens with botanist and ecologist Professor Olasee Davis; Disaster preparation and safety (mold/mildew remediation) work sessions in WUVI Radio studios; informal gatherings at UVI with VI Governor Albert Bryan and students on related recovery and sustainability efforts and more provided during this reporting period. Select community supporters helped with resource and counseling recovery for groups and individuals remained available for program participants as requested with post IrMaria trauma certified professionals. An average of 85% of our event participants have expressed they experienced some spectrum of trauma during the two category five hurricanes devastating the Virgin Islands (US) in September 2017 with therapy and resource support still essential in 2019. The HEAL VICCC RP community-centered gatherings contributed to be shared on AyAy St. Croix programs inclusive of WUVI Radio at the University of the Virgin Islands http://wuvi.uvi.edu [experienced post-hurricane warning damages in September/October 2019 that intefered with select programming], WSTX Radio http://wstxradio.com, and other social media networks with public service announcements and related media support being broadcast to increase AyAy St. Croix and VI community awareness of post-disaster counseling, anxiety and stress management, preparedness strategies support and more in harmony with the Project's #HEALRecoverPrepare focus. Creating more comprehensive disaster preparedness and recovery kits for families was recommended for inclusion in future Bamboula gatherings.
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