NCC Relief and Recovery Efforts Gather Momentum

08 Dec 2017 | NCC Staff

As the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to ably address varied needs around the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) in the wake of destructive hurricanes, the Community Resiliency Model (CRM) was incorporated into its network response for St. Maarten where a team of health professionals kicked off a 4-day community well-being agenda on Saturday, November 25, 2017. 

This visit was part of the relief and recovery efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church to meet the community’s psychological needs – with emphasis on stress-related challenges brought on or compounded by recent hurricanes. Along with stress management tips and practical exercises to help maintain resilience, presentation topics included: The Biology of the Brain, Footprints on the Brain and The Chemistry of Trauma – How It Affects the Human Body.

The ADRA Coordinator for St. Maarten, Pastor Vashni Cuvalay, believed that the workshop could not come at a better time and observed: “Many of the members need this. They are going through this silently but I know they are hurting. Some of them have lost everything and starting over is not easy. The workshop will bridge the gap and offer all the parties- psychologists, social workers and other health workers the comfort of dealing with the time.”

The North Caribbean Conference President, Pastor Desmond James, said, “The session will provide healing for the emotionally broken-hearted individual. Since wellness is essential to achieving normalcy, it will foster stability among the membership. Our goal is to partner with the government and, in the end, seek to impact not only the members, but the entire population of the NCC.” The NCC previously extended trauma and emergency management counseling to the community of St. Croix.

Bringing together a wealth of medical and mental wellness experience, the team included psychologists, social workers, a chaplain, a school counselor, emergency medical technicians, a medical doctor and professionals from organizations such as the local Red Cross and St. Maarten Home for Children. Visiting medical professionals included a representative from the Trinidad Behavioral, Trauma and Psychological Association from Trinidad and Tobago as well as a group from Loma Linda University located in Michigan, USA, which arrived on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Pastor Alexander Isaacs, Health Ministries and ADRA Director at the Caribbean Union Conference, was a member of the team. Having toured the NCC islands and witnessed the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, first-hand, he concluded that there was a need to conduct a workshop of such magnitude for the entire community: “Persons are hurting and therefore there is a need to provide assistance in that regard to help them recover from the effects and psychological impact of the hurricane.”

Dr. Beverly Buckles, Dean of the School of Behavioral Science at Loma Linda University, introduced the trauma group: “Loma Linda University Psychological Trauma Team has been working with the community for about 22 years now. Our goal is to help attendees acquire some basic skills that will help them to provide care for the population not only in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster, but also to have it as an ongoing activity.” The trauma team was invited to St. Maarten by ADRA as part of its relief efforts to the community.

Ongoing collaboration between the SDA Church in the NCC, ADRA, health professionals, emergency responders and other entities has significantly contributed to healing throughout the islands of the Conference.  



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