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Trinidad and Tobago sadly say goodbye to Zippy and Apple

By : Partnership for Children   Nov 5, 2020

We are very sad to announce the closure of our excellent partner organisation, The School Leadership Center of Trinidad and Tobago. This is due to a number of factors: lack of funding, closure of schools due to COVID-19, and the retirement of its dedicated leader, Mrs Elizabeth Crouch.
 
Elizabeth came to the PfC office in 2011 to ask about introducing Zippy’s Friends, having heard about the programme from a headteacher friend in New Jersey, USA. She was concerned about the ‘indiscipline and incivility’ that she saw on a daily basis in the classroom, and the effect on children of the violence inflicted on the island by drug gangs en route from Latin America to the US. She had already obtained funding to implement Zippy, and trainers and the first batch of teachers were trained later that year. Zippy’s Friends was the first mental health promotion programme to be run in the islands’ schools.
 
Zippy proved very popular with teachers, children and parents alike, and in 2016 funding was awarded to introduce Apple’s Friends. Since 2011, the programmes have reached over 21,000 children in over 80 schools, many of whom we hope will continue to run our programmes in the future. The programmes thrived equally in schools of all denominations, and when our Programme Director Caroline visited Trinidad last October, there was still enormous enthusiasm for Zippy and Apple. 
 
‘When it’s time for Zippy, their eyes brighten and they want to speak. It’s their safe space,’ said one head teacher. 
 
‘Since we introduced Apple’s Friends in our school, we haven’t had a single suspension,’ said another.
 
It has been a great pleasure to work with Elizabeth and her colleagues, especially Ramona Khan, Tara Laljee and Primnath Gupta, who were lively contributors to PfC International Workshops.
 
Elizabeth wrote: ‘As we wind up, Ramona and I will be placing our documents and digital materials in the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the National Library. In this way, the Partnership for Children will stand as an institution which has positively impacted our social development as a country.’