August 8, 2014
Reform project geared towards second chances

More than 40 youths have been awarded certificates of participation from the Ministry of National Mobilisation, following a three-week behaviour modification camp, geared towards second chances.

The closing ceremony was held on July 31, at the Peace Memorial Hall and was part of the Ministry’s Juvenile Justice Reform Project.{{more}}

The camp series was an initiative developed to give juveniles in need of a second chance an opportunity to showcase their talents through the threeweek initiative. The camp targeted improving behaviour and sensitizing both parents and children on the legal parameters that govern and affect teenage behaviour and conduct disorders.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, national co-ordinator of the project Merissa Burke said the programme was geared at intervention, using different options for youth.

Burke added that the project aims to provide reform for the justice and the social system, to help the youths in St Vincent to have a second chance to reduce criminal records and provide a rehabilitation plan of action.

“The aim of today is not just to close and hand them their certificates. The aim of today is to prove that second chances can exist and they can work,” Burke said.

She added that during the three weeks, they worked with children who posed behavioural problems and some who were suspended from school on more than one occasion.

“We worked with their parents and we worked on interventions that can help the children to lead better lives. The aim is not to stop here, but to start here. The aim is that when they reach back to school, they can continue this particular lifestyle,” she said.

The programme focused on youths from three schools in Kingstown, namely the Bishop’s College Kingstown, the Dr J P Eustace Memorial Secondary and the Intermediate High School.

Through an internship program with the Jamaica Theological Seminary College, two interns provided the ministry with support to be able to put on another form of the programme, with youths in Park Hill and South Rivers.

Some of the activities and topics dealt with during the three weeks included: arts and craft, drama, discipline, family life, health, sexuality, communication, and abuse, among others.

During the ceremony, students displayed their talent by playing instruments, dramatization and performing a short skit.

Some of the participants, who spoke highly of the programme, also gave brief accounts of how the programme has helped them, not only at home, but also at school.(KW)