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Family Disintegration Focus of Roundtable Discussions on Two Islands

Feb. 26, 2007 — Upcoming programs about the disintegration of families will include discussions with young people, an organizer says.
"Of course the family consists of youth," said Delores Thomas, an honorary member of the V.I. Commission on the Status of Women, which will present the roundtable discussions in conjunction with V.I. Perinatal. A St. Croix program will take place Saturday at Gertrude's Restaurant, with a St. Thomas session following on March 10 at Palms Court Harborview.
"As a retired educator, I feel like we have to have a youth component," said Thomas, who taught for 32 years at the J. Antonio Jarvis School. "We want to do a breakout session with them and see what their feelings are. Not too many people — we want to find out what their feelings are, we want to find out where they feel the problems are, so they can have some voice. Of course it will be confidential."
According to a news release from the commission, "The goal of the roundtable is to strategize and create a blueprint that will inspire others to promote those measures that will maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
"We want to make this concrete," Thomas said. "When we were planning this, I said, 'I'm not going to participate in this unless there's some definite plan of action that comes out of it.' We need a blueprint for survival."
The keynote speaker for St. Croix is Superior Court Judge Patricia Steele, while the St. Thomas session will feature Dilsa Capedeville, executive director of Kidscope.
"Everyone knows that violence is one of the biggest problems facing our community today," Thomas said. "Our young men are going to jail. We're losing them on a daily basis. That has to be happening in conjunction with problems with the family. Where is the breakdown coming? What's causing it? There are so many issues we need to address."
Both events will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited. The registration fee is $20, which includes breakfast and lunch. For more information, please contact Sonia Boyce at 773-6499, Barbara Lee Jackson at 713-1606 or Delores Thomas at 775-9675.
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