September 29, 2016

First Lady, Project Happiness host workshop with education stakeholders

First Lady Sandra Granger today participated in the first ReThink – Project Happiness ‘Train the Trainer’

First Lady Sandra Granger is flanked by Colleen Cameron (left), Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Coordinator; and Evelyn Hamilton (right), Chief Planning Officer, both of the Education Ministry

Vickram presents a token of appreciation to First Lady Sandra Granger at the close of the training session. NCERD Director Jennifer Cumberbatch is pictured (left) while Randy Taran of Project Happiness and Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith look on

workshop, held at the Ministry of Education’s National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD), aimed at providing teachers and other participants with the skills needed to boost children’s self-esteem and promote their emotional development.
Sixty-five professionals including officials from the Ministry, NCERD, teachers, schools’ welfare officers, subject specialists, guidance counsellors and representatives from several non-governmental organisations, participated in the two-day training session which started on Friday.
Officials from ReThink – Project Happiness included Randy Taran of California, USA, Founder/CEO Project Happiness; Amanda Fernandes, Chief Happiness Officer at Rethink – Project Happiness and Regional Director in the Caribbean; and Brook Dorff, Director of Operations and Development, Project Happiness.
In an invited comment, the First Lady said her participation in the programme is linked to her collaboration with Ernie Ross, Guyana’s Consul General in Trinidad and Tobago, on ReThink’s Kind Soles programme, which donated hundreds of pairs to shoes to students in the hinterland area.
ReThink’s – Project Happiness aimed at empowering persons to be empathetic and to live contentedly, also sparked the First Lady’s interest as she is interested in “recreating a Guyanese society that practices compassion”.
Mrs Granger said she is pleased about the training, noting that it will “equip participants with the skills to encourage and empower beneficiaries, particularly children in schools as children who feel good about themselves are less likely to commit suicide.”
The Project Happiness ‘Train the Trainer’ Course comprised nine lessons designed “to improve children’s focus, emotional resilience and their ability to make better life decisions.” The format of the worship included presentations from the trainers, general interactive sessions and small group interactive sessions where participants were allowed to practice skills such as empathy and appreciation.
Brook Dorff, who conducted one of two major training exercises on Friday, said the link with the First Lady is “vital”, as she is passionate about enhancing the lives of Guyanese, particularly children and other vulnerable groups and her influence “will broaden the reach of the programme from just schools to countrywide.”
The programme aims “to give students and teachers the tools for emotional resilience and to teach persons how to deal with all kinds of emotions,” she said.
The group was invited to host the sessions, and the skills taught will be used to augment the Ministry’s programmes aimed at reducing the incidence of suicide, she added.

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