NEWLO at 40

NEWLO, (New Life Organisation) which was registered on January 18, 1984, opened its doors to 40 young people – 33 males and 7 females, on July 30, 1984. Today, NEWLO registers 350 – 400 trainees annually. Although challenging, the journey has been uplifting and inspiring, and it was made possible by many people and organisations. 

With the demise of the Grenada Revolution in October 1983 and the subsequent disillusionment of so many young people, especially males, the late Bishop Emeritus Sidney Charles was inspired to create an institution to help rebuild self-esteem and hope in those young people. Bishop Charles was quite aware of the work of Trinidad and Tobago’s SERVOL, which had been established by Fr. Gerard Pantin, in a situation which was similar to that which Grenada then faced.  SERVOL, therefore, served as a model for NEWLO.

Supported by the leadership and membership of the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and very importantly, by the German Bishops’ Conference and their Catholic Charities, Bishop Charles became the first Chairman of NEWLO which was situated in Palmiste on the site formerly occupied by Pope Paul Camp, on land which the Church owned. The management of the institution was entrusted to Sr. Reina, of the St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters.

NEWLO has always been a skills-training institution, but from its inception to now, an essential component has been the Adolescent Development Programme (ADP). The ADP distinguishes NEWLO from all other skills training programmes. It imparts life skills with an emphasis on the spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional needs of the trainees. Through the programme, trainees’ self-esteem is restored and strengthened; their interpersonal and communication skills are honed. The ADP component is compulsory for all trainees.

To make NEWLO more accessible, the St. Andrew’s Life Skills Centre was opened, first in Munich under the leadership of Mr. Peter James, and today, it is located at Mount St. Ervans.

The current Board appreciates the work and contribution of former Board members, executive directors and instructors. We also acknowledge the contributions of various stakeholders including successive Governments, particularly for the monthly subvention; members of the private sector for their donations and assistance with the on-the-job-training aspect of the programme; the Catholic Church, both at home and abroad; various religious congregations and many individuals, both locally and internationally.

We are aware that the past 40 years brought many changes to Grenadian society and we, as an institution, have a responsibility to remain relevant.  Therefore, we have undertaken a review of NEWLO’s achievements and shortcomings. We have scrutinised our adherence to legal requirements; examined the content and length of the ADP; considered the inclusion of other skill areas and we are working on improving the working conditions for both instructors and trainees.

As we move forward, we expect more changes: long-serving directors and instructors will inevitably retire; our current dynamic CEO may be recalled by her religious order. We are confident, however, that NEWLO will remain vital to Grenadian society, as individuals and communities have come to understand the value which NEWLO offers.

The Board unreservedly expresses heartfelt thanks to the present complement of instructors and administrative staff, all 42 of them. The trainees, and the society at large owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to these instructors.

With confidence and without fear of contradiction, we assert, that NEWLO has impacted Grenada in numerous positive ways, and we have 6,500 graduates to prove that!!

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