Organizers cancel V.I. Family month celebration
Published: October 24, 2013
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - For the last 13 years, V.I. Family Month has been recognized in the territory with a focus on the family unit being the center of any society.
However, organizers behind the recognition have experienced a number of obstacles that canceled this year's celebration, but they hope residents still do something meaningful with their families.
Lillian Sutherland, coordinator of the USVI Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, said an increasing need exists for support for the family system and the goal of the observation is to overcome age barriers that keep residents apart and push efforts to embrace the positive factors that influence the lives of children and their futures.
"What is really bothersome to me is that we see the way that things are changing, how our youth are losing their sense of values and embracing all this negative behavior and there is no sense of urgency to make a change," she said.
Family month was signed into law 2004 and has never caught on in any big way across the territory according to Sutherland, despite vigorous attempts by dozens of volunteers to push the cause and the events organized by the group.
For the last 10 years MOTTEP hosted its Family Affair Walk and rally on the last Saturday of October and brought out families of all types to be a part of the event, which included games, team-building and motivational speakers.
However, the last year has been a challenging one for the organization, according to Sutherland, who has seen illness in her family, loss of HOVENSA and other sponsors and loss of membership because of relocation and an overall low economy.
Because of the challenges, there will be no walk and rally this year, but Sutherland said she wants to encourage everyone to still take time out to recognize the importance of the family and strengthen positive behavior and traditions in the community.
"The seeds have been planted, but how the tree grows and blossom depends on members of the community," she said. "We have to lean heavily on each other at times and strengthen each other as a unit, not only in families but every day."
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com