May Book and Toy Drive for St Lucian Children

Submitted by Betsy Tonkin

In January of this year, Russ and I went to Anse-la-Raye, St. Lucia, one of the most impoverished cities on the island. We were members of an inaugural Global Volunteer team which partnered with town leaders in addressing this fact: St. Lucia has the lowest average IQ of any country in the western hemisphere. This is due in large part to inadequate nutrition, chronic infectious disease and lack of appropriate stimulation during the first 1000 days of a child’s life. These children have difficulty reaching the normal developmental milestones and consequently are unable to learn and maximize their innate abilities.

St. Lucia Global Volunteers Project. Photo by Betsy Tonkin

A caregiver program designed to provide positive intervention in nutrition, health and education during those first 1000 days has proven to be successful in giving young children birth to three a better start in life and therefore better performance in school and improvement in IQs. These caregivers and their client families could benefit greatly from board books, picture books and developmental toys since these items are scarce to non-existent.

Please consider donating gently used (or new) board books, picture books and age appropriate developmental toys (without batteries and in good condition) for the children of St. Lucia. There will be a box at the town hall during the month of May for any items you care to contribute. In addition, Fletcher Library, Killington Library and the Killington Elementary School have collection boxes. Monetary donations are also gratefully accepted to help defray shipping costs. Checks can be made out to Betsy Tonkin with “Global Volunteers” on the memo line and mailed to 131 Windy Lane, PlymouthVT05056.

For more information, please call 672-3179 and/or pick up a handout on the St. Lucia program supplied in the collection box.


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