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COLLABORATIVE EFFORT: Geoffrey Edwards, Futsal president, from left, Justin Lewis, Dass Trace Youth Empowerment Committee president, Enterprise businessman Sean Regis and Ginelle Small-Cummings, chairman, Jimroy Wyse Committee.
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In an effort to help with the mental health of children during the coronavirus pandemic, the Futsal Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FATT) will be hosting an event called “Kids Connect” – a series of virtual mental health workshops for children. It will be held from December 13 to 15, 2020.

This pilot project includes the collaborative efforts of Chaguanas based non-governmental organisations Dass Trace Youth Empowerment Committee and the Jimroy Wyse Committee. Both youth-oriented organisations engage in successful and sustained community activities that include ongoing education camps to improve literacy and sporting events such as football, cricket, basketball and netball.

Kids Connect will introduce participants - ages seven to 21 years old- to mental health issues. The cohort will be split into five age groups. Fun and engaging sessions will be facilitated by qualified and experienced psychologists, mental health workers and advocates. The age appropriate content will be delivered via the Zoom platform and streamed via social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

FATT president Geoffrey Edwards stated:“Our National Sporting Organisation through our weekly online meet-up series ‘Futsal868 Corner Talks’ hosted three one-hour long episodes on ‘Mental Health and Emotional Intelligence in Sport.” Guests included sport psychologists from the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago, former Soca Warrior and ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop, Olympian and Director of Sport at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Grace Jackson and US based clinical psychologist Melissa Kanhai.

“The wealth of information that came our way made us aware that a lot needed to be done as it relates to mental health and youth. Thus, with sport mirroring society, FATT decided to lend a hand through this innovative initiative.”

Edwards added:”We are most proud of the partnership we have established with the Dass Trace Youth Empowerment Committee and Jimroy Wyse Committee led by Mr Justin Lewis and Mrs. Ginelle Small-Cummings, respectively whose passion for community development is extraordinary.”

President of the Dass Trace Youth Empowerment Committee, Lewis, said the Enterprise NGO welcomes the mental health collaborative project with the FATT, since it is in keeping with the group’s goal to promote the holistic development of at-risk youths living in the community.

“We always welcome new opportunities and programmes to engage our youth so they can see the positive alternatives to crime,” said Lewis. He continued, saying, “mental health is a serious issue that we tend to take for granted. I think this mental health initiative will bring much needed sensitisation and relief to our young people, especially in these uncertain times owing to Covid-19.”

Small-Cummings, president of the Jimroy Wyse Committee, expressed her gratitude to Futsal for bringing the initiative to Enterprise. “Both the Jim Wyse and Dass Trace committees took this opportunity so we could make a difference in the lives of Enterprise youths. Thanks to the Futsal Association of Trinidad and Tobago.”

FATT is responsible for the growth and sustained development of the FIFA-approved indoor variant of the ”beautiful” game in the jurisdiction.