August 30, 2021 SABA—Expertise Center Education Care on Saba, better known as EC2, recently hosted a special event to commemorate the organization’s 10th anniversary, to celebrate receiving the ‘Appeltje van Oranje’ award, to bid farewell to six team members and to welcome six new team members.
EC2 is Saba’s specialized organization to provide support services to schools for students and teachers in case of a specific care question. Since this school year, EC2 also offers specialist care arrangements, catered to the individual needs of students.
EC2 was founded in 2011 by current Director Henriette “Jet” van Heijnsbergen. Through her relentless input and that of the board members and team members, EC2 grew from one full-time employee (FTE) in 2011 to 10 FTE in 10 years, giving assistance to more children and further professionalizing the organization and the care that it provides.
On June 1, 2021, EC2 won an ‘Appeltje van Oranje’ award (Orange Apple Award) of the Oranje Fund in the Netherlands with its Ways to Wellbeing project. During the special event on August 21, the award was presented to the invited guests and the Saba people. Director Van Heijnsbergen thanked the entire EC2 team, (past) colleagues and coaches for their dedication, inspiration and support.
Ways to Wellbeing is a multi-faceted approach to nurture the mental wellness of vulnerable students facing challenges by developing four key dimensions of wellness: intellectual, emotional, social and physical. EC2 started Ways to Wellbeing to help the special needs, vulnerable children cope with trauma after the big 2017 hurricanes, the current COVID-19 pandemic, and challenges with isolation, stress within their family, bullying, unaddressed learning issues and family displacement.
During the event, EC2 said goodbye to six team members: Youth Development Specialist/Psychologist Rayann Ramdin, Speech & Language Specialist Esmeralda “Essie” van Hoek, Occupational Therapist D’Antoinette “Dee” Sorton, Behavior Coach Quirine Hakkaart and Personal Education Assistants LeShayne Charles and Esmelysa Solano Garcia.
Six new team members have been welcomed: Psychologist Stacey Gomez from Trinidad, Speech & Language Specialist Che’vonne James from St. Maarten, Behavior Coach Fleur Kregting from the Netherlands, Special Education teacher Ann Jeffrey from Sint Maarten and Personal Education Assistants Claire Mandolado and Olivia Johnson from Saba.
During her speech, Director Van Heijnsbergen several times referred to the EC2 logo, which is a kite. For the 10th anniversary, a balloon with 10 has been added to the logo. Since its start, EC2 has had a kite in its logo because it stands for three important qualities: playfulness, movement and its ability to rise to great heights. As for the first quality, Van Heijnsbergen said that whatever the issue, the EC2 team starts from the perspective of the student, incorporating play and action in the sessions.
The second quality has to do with movement and how EC2 responds to that: with children all being different, with their own individual talents and needs, EC2 has to be flexible and adapt. And, thirdly, a kite can soar and rise to unexpected heights once steered properly in the wind making the best use of external factors. Therefore, EC2 plans and accommodates students while taking their home situation and other factors into consideration.
The event on August 21 was opened by EC2 board member Madelyn Johnson. Interim-principal of the Sacred Heart Primary School Willem-Jan van Hest completed the festive evening with a toast for the EC2 team, past and present, the EC2 board as well as the students and teachers.