NASA Scientists for Regional Training Camp Targeting Blind Caribbean Youth

By Adelle Roopchand, Journalist

Patrick Lafayette in Portland Cottage, Clarendon, Jamaica in June 2011 doing MC duties for a community stage show put on my the Voices for Climate Change Education Project, a project of Panos Caribbean and the Mocho Community Development Association and other partners that uses popular reggae artistes to spread climate change and biodiversity conservation messages.

Port of Spain, Trinidad. July 15, 2011 - Fourteen blind youths from across the Caribbean are currently in Trinidad and Tobago participating in the Torres Foundation developmental camp featuring training by scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States and other noted trainers.

Scientist Dr. Craig Moore, Space Shuttle Commander Hoot Gibson and Dan Oates of NASA will discuss Space Science Careers and Technology for the Blind.

The camp entitled “Camp Can Do 2011” began in Tobago on Saturday, July 16 and will run until next Saturday, July 23, 2011. The week-long camp will also focus on Media and Communications and Financial Management.

Blind Veteran Jamaican broadcaster/producer, Patrick LaFayette and Trinidad based Panos Caribbean journalist/producer, Adelle Roopchand will focus on the basic Journalism and media training.

The young people – hailing from Jamaica, Trinidad, Antigua, and St. Lucia  – will also be trained in basic money management by the Trinidad born-US based financial expert Allison Questel.

Also RBC Royal Bank, Scarborough has invited the campers into the branch to talk about careers in banking.

“The Torres Foundation is pleased and excited with the line up of innovative and groundbreaking workshops that have been scheduled. I know that these sessions will make a significant difference in the lives of these young people,” said Ancil Torres Camp Director and President of the Torres Foundation.

The Torres Foundation’s mission is to promote the educational, cultural, and social development of blind people in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean in an effort to bring about independence, career opportunities, and overall life enhancement.

Since July 2009, the Torres Foundation has been hosting Camp Can do to provide blind youths with positive and motivating experiences that will enhance their personal growth and development with a series of educational workshops and special activities. It will be held at the Sunshine Holiday Apartments, Bon Accord in Tobago.

“Camp Can Do seeks to focus campers on what they can do in spite of blindness and away from what they cannot do because they are blind,” said Torres.
The Campers will also be treated to an array of social and sporting activities including: Fishing, nature walk excursions, horseback riding and swimming.  They will be given the opportunity to develop self advocacy skills where Campers will take on the roles of leaders and assert themselves in dealing with their disability issues.

Camp Can Do has received significant funding from RBC Royal Bank andPerkins School for the Blind. The camp takes place at Sunshine Holiday Apartments guest house in Bon Accord and Trinizuela College.  (End14-07-12).

For further information please contact: Kashmir Mitchell at (868) 623-0940or email kmitchell@torresfoundation.org or Adelle Roopchand, Media Relations Officer at (868) 389-8040.

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