GB3 T-Shirt, Cap sale to benefit auditorium repairs

POSTED: 03/24/11 12:40 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell launched the t-shirts and caps for the Get off the Block, Get on the Bus, Get Busy (GB3) project on Wednesday. Money raised from the sale this week will be donated to the Foundation Upkeep Sports Facilities, which needs money to repair the floor of the Great Bay Sports Auditorium after a recent flood. People who buy and wear the shirt and cap will get into the And1 vs local selection basketball game on April 2 for free.

“I take this opportunity to invite youngsters up to age 25 who might still be  interested in playing on the St. Martin team to show up for try-outs and practice this Thursday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. at the St. Maarten Academy (academic section) gym,” Arrindell said.

She added, “Need I say that no one knows how to put on a show on the basketball court like AND 1? You saw them when they were here late last year. You’ll have a chance to see them again, in full force. Why AND 1? Because their story took them also from the block and got them busy to the point that they became a business brand! It’s the kind of story our young people can easily relate to.”

Pre-registration is reportedly progressing very well and the Ministry anticipates that the final number will surpass the anticipated 40. Excerpts from a random sample of the pre-registration forms have already revealed how the target thinks.

“One 22-year-old male who has registered simply said he would like to have a job and “live good.” Regarding the GB3 project, he added: “Feel like it going to be a good chance to become something,” Arrindell said quoting one excerpt.

Another that she read stated, “Another 22-year-old, pre-registered participant said he was put out of school because he was involved in violence, but added that he would like to finish his education; while another 17- year-old, who is working, expressed the wish to complete his schooling at the Milton Peters College and then “leave the island,” I believe to further his studies.”

“This is the whole idea of the GB3 project: to give our young people not only hope for a better future, but the tools to achieve their ambitions and dreams. Being on the block does not mean they do not have dreams and ambitions or that they do not want to become somebody. As a society, we do not have the luxury to continue to turn our backs on them. As a matter of fact, we would be doing so at our own peril. That is why we must get them off the block, get them on the bus, so they know their present station is not their destination, and get them busy so that through their own effort and a little push from us collectively, they can pull themselves out of the vicious cycle of negativity, violence, and hopelessness and become responsible members of the society, contributing their own share to the development of their island,” Arrindell said after reading the excerpts.

The Minister also stressed the public/private sector nature of GB3 and called on businesses to continue to get involved by giving financial or other assistance. She has also thanked the nation for its support and reiterated that focus is and must remain on the young people.

“GB3 is not a “government thing”; it is not a Rhoda thing; it is a St. Martin thing. As a people, we are on the move and we cannot afford to fail our youth. We are all in this together, for the sake of St. Martin. The success of this project will determine how we can move forward confidently as a people, knowing that our most valuable asset, our people, especially our young people are not left by the wayside, on the block, feeling alienated and giving in to their baser instincts,” Arrindell said.

She concluded, “I believe strongly in our young people and in their capacity to achieve whatever they set their minds to. I’m sure you do too. In the best spirit of that adage that says it takes a village to raise a child, let’s make this happen, together. We have no other option, because our youth are counting on us.”

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