The VM Foundation recently closed out its Parents’ Month celebrations with a Financial Wellness and Parenting Expo at the St. Jago Park Health Centre.
The event, which saw users of the clinic benefitting from the expertise of VM’s financial services specialists and parenting professionals from various government agencies, was executed through the Adopt-a-Clinic programme, a partnership between the Foundation and the Ministry of Health.
The initiative sees the VM Foundation donating a total of $4.5 million over a three-year period to boost service capabilities and equip expectant parents who access health services at the centre with relevant financial literacy skills and parenting knowledge.
CEO of the VM Foundation, Samantha Charles, while noting that the clinic will also be receiving well-needed equipment to enhance service quality and efficiency, explained why direct engagement with clinic users was also important.
“The medical professionals don’t exist without the patients and vice versa. It’s a community”, noted Charles. “If we can empower all the members of the community then the stakeholder relationship will improve. Yes, the nurses and doctors will have access to better resources to help them do their jobs but what if patients got access to information that helped them take better care of themselves and their loved ones? These are some of the questions we asked ourselves and we quickly realized that it would be more fruitful to facilitate discussions beyond medical health and pursue a holistic approach to include the financial and social well-being engagement activities.”
The expo featured presentations from the VM Group which covered topics such as goal setting and savings, saving for your child’s education, investing, retirement planning and home ownership; the latter featuring an exhibition from the National Housing Trust (NHT).
Participants also benefited from discussions focused on parenting support, child and youth development, childcare and protection, infant health and nutrition and early stimulation, with sessions led by the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), the National Health Fund (NHF) and professionals from the St. Jago Park Health Centre.
CEO at the NPSC, Kaysia Kerr, emphasized the importance of parents having adequate support and resources at their disposal to best guide their children.
“Parenting involves a complex set of skills that are supported by strategies for each phase,” Kerr noted. “Each phase requires resolve and resources to include financial resources. Proper financial planning is therefore an important aspect that must be considered and applied to the overall parenting experience.”
Medical Officer of Health at the St. Catherine Health Department, Dr. Francia Prosper-Chen, lauded the partnership between the VM Foundation and the St. Jago Park Health Centre and expressed pride at being able to give back to the community in a way that she believes will have a lasting impact.
“We are proud that our clinic users were able to leverage the expertise of the participating professionals and gain clarity regarding the many ways they can transform their lives,” she remarked.
Some 100 parents are said to have benefited from the expo which was held under the theme “Better Finances, Better Parenting, Transform Jamaica.”