Participants from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village engage with Island Therapy Solutions mental health professionals during a recent workshop in Rwanda.

A delegation of mental health practitioners from St. Croix’s Island Therapy Solutions was hosted by Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda earlier this month to deliver mental health wellness workshops.

Located in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, the village is a unique, holistic residential community founded by Anne Heyman in response to Rwandan genocide. It is home to 500 Rwandan teenagers and young adults orphaned by violence and AIDS, and provides informal and formal education. Based on their gender, the youths live in the village with a family, comprised of a family mother, older sibling (alumni) and a cousin (fellow from a foreign nation who teaches them about their world).

Island Therapy Solutions was invited to deliver mental health wellness workshops to the village staff. Dr. Lindsy Wagner, owner, traveled to Kigali with her team, which included Dr. Sophia Joseph Parrilla, Dr. Rita Dudley Grant and Keila Medina. Workshop topics included learning disabilities, mood and behavioral disorders, parenting a child with difficulties, compassion fatigue, self-care and mindfulness.

The group also connected with the families during their mealtimes and had the opportunity to interact with the youth.

“The workshops were informative and interactive, and staff was encouraged to practice the skills,” said Dr. Wagner. “The presentations were so successful that we have committed to deliver monthly Zoom presentations to ASYV. We are honored to partner with this incredible team, and look forward to supporting the work they’re doing with the students whom they serve.”