Kamella Carmino is not one to rest on her laurels. One to regularly re-invent herself, she has created a YouTube channel through which she demonstrates creative and productive ways in which parents and guardians can keep their children occupied, especially during this period of quarantine and isolation.
Aunty KC, the name she uses in the videos, “is a name from my library days,” the former librarian told WMN.
A mother to a six-year-old daughter and ten-year-old son, Carmino said she’ll be using a number of skills such as arts and crafts, cooking, sewing and planting with her children on her channel, sometimes with a little twist.
“When I do arts and craft, I also incorporate some spelling in it to make it more interesting. For example, I recently did mermaid craft with my daughter and had her repeat the letters in the word mermaid.”
Carmino is a creative at heart. “I’m a poet, storyteller, writer, playwright, singer, songwriter, photographer and artist. And for her the channel is just the start.
“Ultimately, I want to have creative centres locally, regionally and internationally. I have travelled and seen several types of centres and it’s been awesome. I like to see children learning and having fun. Not just from a book, but from nature, from people.”
These creative spaces, she said, will be to empower people and give them options and opportunities for them to showcase their work.
“Kre8global will be the universal umbrella name for my business,” under which the channel falls. “I really believe that we were created beings created to be creative.”
With a first degree in media and communications and a master’s in library and information studies, Carmino worked for many years at the national library, where she had the opportunity to do what she loves – interacting with children.
“When I completed my master’s degree in library studies I went straight to work at the children’s library at the national library. After the necessary orientation, I just flowed with it, even doing things that did not fall within my purview. Anything that Nalis had, children’s library was present. I had a great team.”
She subsequently moved to the adult library, where she worked until she left to do a master’s in child and family studies.
“I specialise in children and youth services. For as long as I have known myself I’ve worked with children, even as a child. One of my first jobs as a teen was working at a camp with younger children. I’ve always been involved in education and recreational activities for children.”
She said as she grew older education and entertainment for kids became one of her main focusses.
“People like Aunty K, Mr Rogers, Hazel Ward Redman, all of whom were into the development of children through entertainment appealed to me.”
She said she has been wanting to do a YouTube channel for a while but wanted to have certain things in place before she made her move. “I kept telling myself I needed to have hair, makeup, wardrobe and things like that in order first.” Then one day it happened, without the input of the professional hairstylist and makeup artist, and in her everyday clothes.
“There is a group I belong to, Re-evaluation Counselling. We are trained to counsel and we co-counsel.”
“Re-evaluation counselling is practised in pairs, by people listening to each other and assisting each other to release painful emotions,” the group’s website rc.org says.
“It’s an international body but there is a local chapter here in TT,” Carmino said. “A couple of weeks ago I met for a session with one of my co-counsellors about starting the channel. After the session I decided it was time and that I’d start with whatever I have.
“If you look at the footage, it’s not the best,” Carmino said, but the important thing is the message.
“It’s a start. My phone does a pretty good job and I feel comfortable using it, but it won’t be like that forever. Eventually, I will have a team and will look for sponsorship. I just want to be able to empower children and it’s for that reason I always tell my children, ‘You are completely good and completely intelligent and let the skies be the limit.”
Carmino will be adding new dimensions to the channel as she goes along.
“I tell stories, all different types. Local, international, some I create on the fly to deal with different topics.
“I’m going to be doing more things like storytelling and singing. When I’m doing storytelling, I’m going to try to stick with my own material because of copyright issues. When I’m singing I’ll be doing more folk songs, which are more outside of the copyright zone.
“I will also do interviews that are focused on careers. Find out about people’s careers and allow them to showcase their talent."
Like many parents, Carmino has had to find ways to keep her children occupied following the early closure of school on March 16 as a result of covid19.“My son has always wanted to be homeschooled, so I guess he is sort of getting his wish. It wasn’t something I could have considered before because I had worked a nine to five job. But right now I’m trying to create my life so I can be in a situation where I am available to them 24/7 and no one determines my time. And I want that for them when they grow up.”