October 9, 2012
Youth Empowerment for Community Action hosts 2nd summit – Layou Campsite

Six community service project groups pitched their ideas this past Saturday to a panel at the Layou Campsite, as part of the Youth Empowered for Community Action (YECA) program.{{more}}

The YECA program’s focus is working with youths to develop solutions to issues faced today, namely HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, socio-economic and environmental issues.

Their second overnight retreat was held this past weekend, which was geared at the implementation of community service projects created by the participants, for youths in various areas all over the country.

Five individuals: Andrew Wilson, Director of National Parks for the Region, Patrick Prescod from Population Services International and Parent Care Association of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ashley John from the National Youth Council, Carlos Williams, an adult at Continuing Education and Janeil Henry, Secretary General of the UNESCO National Commission of St Vincent and the Grenadines, were on the panel that assessed and gave feedback on the service project ideas.

Each group presented on a topic of either HIV/AIDS and the related stigma and discrimination or socio-economic or environmental issues and presented ideas that consisted of community and coastal clean-ups, workshops and HIV/AIDS education discussion groups.

Additionally, groups presented their projects based on their vision, rationale, goals, action plan and timelines by which they expect to carry out their plans. The actual activity planned, whether it is a mentorship program or a coastal clean-up, is expected to be carried out in a one-day period.

After presenting his group’s socio-economic service project to curb unemployment of youths through the use of a skill or trade, Marvello Ballantyne, a 19-year-old youth leader, shared his views on the topic.

“There is a number of problems and ills in the society that we youths need to fight back against, because if everything keep going down and we do not change them, then it’s gonna be hard for us in the future,” he said.

Also, Malaika Providence, a 14-year-old student at the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown, who was strongly impacted by the socio-economic, as well as HIV/AIDS areas, stated that she had learned a great deal from being a part of the program.

“I hadn’t realized that in St Vincent we had such a high rate in HIV…that so many people were under-employed and the poverty rate was so high.”

All groups stated in their plans that they hope to take action and implement their respective service projects by the end of the year.