Nassau, THE BAHAMAS – “That 13-year old today on the path to illiteracy, in five years could possibly be an angry 18-year old man with one or two things in his hand, a gun or a knife,”expressed Mr. Marvin Henfield, Executive Director of the International Youth Education & Sports (iYES) Foundation. “This partnership with Oaktree Medical Center will allow the iYES Foundation to begin to mitigate some of the social demise we are experiencing.”
His comments resonated loudly, as the country continues to experience increased levels of social decay due to many young adults feeling hopeless, coupled with the sharp economic downturn and joblessness due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, the solutions to these massive challenges are not insurmountable when hope, vision and generosity intertwine.
With a passion for the community and supporting Bahamian youth, Oaktree Medical Center’s Medical Director, Dr. Don D. Deveaux and General Manager, Mrs. Kristi Deveaux partnered with the iYES Foundation for a sizable donation of $320,000 for the establishment of an indoor 8,500 square foot YMCA style, technology enhanced learning and sports facility primarily developed for inner city youths in New Providence.
From left: Mr. Jabari Wilmott, iYES Foundation Assistant Director of Development; iYES Foundation Executive Director, Mr. Marvin Henfield; Mrs. Jesse Hinsey, iYES Foundation Board Secretary; iYES Foundation Board Chairman, Mr. Peter Rutherford; Oaktree Medical Center Medical Director, Dr. Don D. Deveaux; and Oaktree Medical Center General Manager - Mrs. Kristi Deveaux.
“For us this is a game changer, this allows us to be able to manifest our vision of creating the first YMCA style facility here in The Bahamas and gives us the ability to touch thousands of lives on a weekly basis. In the 80s, we were taught as kids to say ‘no’ to drugs but they never taught us what to say ‘yes’ to,” Henfield noted.
The “I say YES” after school programme is designed to teach kids to say ‘yes’ to their dreams, ‘yes’ to their future, ‘yes’ to their purpose and ‘yes’ to their education. The space will provide year-round academic assistance, training and development for young men and women to help them develop physically, socially and spiritually.
Oaktree General Manager Mrs. Kristi Deveaux shared her appreciation for the opportunity to partner with the iYES Foundation on this project. “We believe in the vision of the Foundation and are grateful to be able to step alongside you. Dr. Deveaux and I decided to take this leap because we want to be connected to something that is a refuge for young people. We understand as a child what it was like to struggle at times, however, we were able to make it out and given a chance to succeed. As a result, we want to do the same for children who might not have anyone else to provide a safe haven for them,” she expressed.
iYES Board members with Oaktree Medical Director Dr. Don D. Deveaux
Chairman of the iYES Foundation Board, Mr. Peter Rutherford reflected on how, many of the iYES Board members and associated partners are former athletes who benefited from the community and are now able to give back to the same community that blessed them. He also
expressed his gratitude to the Deveaux’s for their generous donation.
“To the principles of Oaktree Medical Center, it is with a gracious heart that we accept this gift. It is not normal that we see partners step up in such a generous manner and to that we say thank you. Rest assured that stewardship and accountability is the mantra by which we will carry out our duties,” expressed Rutherford.
Medical Director Dr. Don D. Deveaux lamented the pains and challenges he sees in the community due to societal decay, the pandemic and current economic downturn.
“During this pandemic, so many children are suffering and as a result, here at Oaktree we are not trying to just treat the medical side, we are treating the community. We want to be a pillar in our community to help people. For us, we asked the question, what is the next big investment? It is not another hotel or technology; it is actually investing in the human soul. That to us, is the most important investment we can actually make in the community. As Bahamians, we must come together and save this nation at this critical time. I want to encourage corporate Bahamas to continue to sow into the worthy causes which support and uplift our young people,” said Dr. Deveaux.
The iYES Foundation is a registered non-profit in The Bahamas which teaches sports fundamentals and life skills to young men and women ages 5-21 years of age. By building brighter futures through education and sports, the Foundation has trained, mentored and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with more than 8,000 youth to date. The iYes facility will be located on Tonique Darling Highway.
Oaktree Medical Center (OMC), a world-class medical facility provides high quality, holistic, patient-centred, affordable medical services in a safe, caring environment. They provide customized care to meet the needs of each patient and health condition. OMC is focused on family values and its doors are open to serve the community.