The ‘Be your own Icon’ program for youngsters on Saba has just gotten bigger and better with the addition of basketball for girls, soccer for boys and two mentors. Until now, the program offered only basketball for boys. Saba is the first in the Dutch Kingdom to add girls to the program.
The ‘Be your own Icon’ is a program, funded by the Ministry of Justice and Security (JenV), that helps youngsters between the age of 12 and 18 to build self-esteem, pride and respect, not only for themselves, but also for others and for authorities, while addressing aggression and behavioral issues. ‘Be your own Icon’ is the Saba version of the Dutch ‘Alleen jij bepaalt wie je bent’ program.
Sports have a prominent role in Be your own Icon. Basketball and soccer were selected for Saba. The program was first brought to Saba in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic Be your own Icon came to a halt, but it has now made a fresh start, with an expansion to the program.
On Thursday, February 16, a relaunch event was held at the Department for Community Development and Public Health. The program now has two mentors, Allan Carolina for the boys and Lucrecia Paulina for the girls.
The youngsters, 12 girls for basketball and 12 boys each for soccer and basketball, train twice a week. The basketball trainings take place at the gym and soccer at the Johan Cruyff Court. Twice a month, they participate in inter-vision (reflection) sessions, team building activities to build self-esteem.
The head coaches for the boys’ basketball are Jalen Robinson and Shawn Skinner, and for the boys’ soccer Alejandro Londoño Garcia and John Mosquera. The head coach for the girls’ basketball is Bianca Johnson.
The program is carried out in collaboration with the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS). “By closely working with the school, we get the best results since the kids are in school half of the day,” said Joelyn Robinson, coordinates Be your own Icon at the Public Health Department. The coordinator at the SCS is Suly de la Rosa.
“The youngsters are really enthusiastic about the program. It is well-attended and we are at full capacity. It was really nice that the boys specifically asked for Allan. They feel that they can relate to him because he is young. I find it very positive that they came up with the suggestion who they wanted as a mentor,” said Robinson.