Brother Kyle Dardaine, Fr Mikkel Trestrail and Shad Seaton, then younger men of 18, 19 and 20, each had a “very personal and powerful encounter with God” and asked God, out of that encounter, to find other male friends who were interested in a relationship with God and “positive and healthy things.”
Coming out of secondary school, Dardaine said, they were experiencing a lot of negative male talk. By divine intervention, he said, they met each other and became prayer companions for each other. “From our own lives, our experience told us that people believe young men could come up and do it on their own, they could find their own path and don’t need guidance or mentoring.
“A lot of our Caribbean society mistakenly believes that they can make it. We more see girls as needing peer support,” he said.
They also found a commonality in that they all had “a huge father wound.” Out of this, the trio had a desire to share their support of fatherhood and the experiencing of a father wound.
Seaton, Dardaine said, had a desire to share with others experiencing similar problems and approached his then school, Fatima College, to host a weekend retreat with his other sixth form peers on the matter.
This retreat happened in 2001. Then 20 boys of the school’s sixth form responded freely and led to the young men talking through masculine issues freely.
This retreat was the beginning of the formation of the Companions of the Transfigured Christ. Dardaine, Trestrail and Seaton are its founders. Dardaine is one of the organisation's co-founders and its current moderator.
It is now 19 years that this weekend retreat has been happening and is focused on adolescent males between the ages of 17-25. Dardaine said the retreat helps the young men to encounter God powerfully in their lives, to deal with the issues of masculine development and psyche and happens twice a year. But it is also no longer restricted to TT but has also been extended to Curacao.
This is not the only thing done by the group, it also runs an after school programme in Diego Martin Boys RC school, is involved in youth and young adult ministry in the Catholic church throughout the Caribbean and does “integral human development” workshops with adults 20 and over on topics such as healing the father wound, healing the mother wound and self-esteem throughout the year. The Belmont-based group, Dardaine said, is a household of consecrated brothers with about 20 full-fledged members in TT and Curacao.
Two of the co-founders do the organisation’s work full-time and while Seaton does works part-time. Asked about the Courts Heroes Initiative nomination, Dardaine said it was really a surprise.
To raise money, the organisation has fundraisers, gets donations from private and corporate benefactors as well as practices social entrepreneurship. Three years ago, it opened its own bistro called Tabor House Bistro at Rookery Nook, Maraval.
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