Creating a safe environment for young people

Since 2017, the Teens and Young Adults Lounge — known as TAYA — run by the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre has been an after-school refuge for local youth.

The year-round programme is free for participating youth and, in addition to practical workshops and weekly support meetings, also provides daily meals. In 2021, this work is supported by a CI$25,000 Dart Grant.

Livia Siqueria, children and youth coordinator with the Crisis Centre, says the organisation’s focus on teens and young adults is paramount in eradicating domestic violence by breaking the cycle of generational abuse.

“By providing the teens with a safe and stable environment in the after-school hours and giving them support and knowledge, we aim to expand their possibilities and give them the tools they need to successfully navigate through their personal and professional relationships and avoid unhealthy relationship patrons,” Siqueria said.

“The funding is extremely necessary for the continuity of the program," Siqueria said. "With the funding, we will be able to provide additional support needed for the youth who have suffered trauma."

Pilar Bush, Dart executive vice president with responsibility for community development, said the programme was launched in 2019 to maximise the positive impacts of well-run, local charities in the areas of youth development, education and the physical environment.

“The Crisis Centre’s TAYA lounge supports youth development by providing a safe environment where teens can interact and make social and emotional connections with their peers,” Bush said. “Breaking the generational cycle of domestic violence is foundational to a stable, prosperous society in which every person can thrive.”

More than 75 teenagers have participated in the TAYA programme so far. These efforts are reinforced by the Crisis Centre’s Kids Helpline, a free call service introduced in 2018 that provides confidential support to children dealing with issues affecting their well-being, such as bullying and familial problems, where protecting the rights of the child is of the utmost importance.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre was one of nine local non-profit organisations chosen as the recipients of the 2021 Dart Grants. The Dart Grants programme distributes up to $250,000 annually to local non-profit organisations to help them scale their positive impact and better serve the Cayman Islands community.

Other 2021 Dart Grant recipients include NCVO Children Services; Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association; Central Caribbean Marine Institute; East End Primary School PTA; Inclusion Cayman; Literacy Is For Everyone; National Gallery of the Cayman Islands; and YMCA Cayman.

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This article appears in print in the August 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Hannah Reid. 

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