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Y.E.S. - Holy Trinity students launch programme to protect themselves

Published:Sunday | May 3, 2015 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Holy Trinity students in the YES progamme.
Channae Thompson
Ascheca Williams
Kaeel Crookson
Monique Pickett
Odeka Haughton

The scary rate at which children are being murdered and sexually assaulted across the island has left students from at least one school in the Corporate Area scared and in search of solutions.

The students from the Holy Trinity High School in Kingston told The Sunday Gleaner that young people will now have to find ways to protect themselves, as those tasked to protect them have been losing the battle.

"With the recent killing of teenagers, we young people are feeling that there is no longer a village to raise a child. Who is there to protect us?" questioned the school's student council president Odeka Haughton.

"Sometimes the persons who should be there for us are not there. But we are equipped with the tools and everything to protect ourselves, so it's for us to use it to our best ability," she said.

The fifth-form student is receiving support from her schoolmates who, while scared, are urging their peers to take steps to protect themselves.

"I feel very sad because of the number of children in Jamaica who are being killed. There is no one around to protect us," lamented eighth-grader Kaeel Crookson.

However, Kaeel and his schoolmates are adamant that they won't give in to their fears. They will, instead, strive to be more careful. They hope to encourage other students to do the same through the launch of a Youth Empowered to Strive (YES) programme, which they started recently at their school.

The programme will see the students writing songs, making drama presentations, hosting debates and, hopefully, doing an advertisement that instructs children how to keep themselves safe.

"We can find solutions ourselves to protect us. Like if we are doing things, think about what will be the effects afterwards," advised Monique Pickett, who said teenagers often act off pure emotions.

The students say they are faced with destructive forces daily.

"We are being pressured in gangs and in groups," asserted Ascheca Williams, who pointed out that those who choose to isolate themselves are often bullied.

The increasing access to technology, though necessary, has also put them at more risk. Girls, especially, are being easily lured by the promise of gifts and a good time by older men, and some have fallen prey.

"They take money and stuff, but they not going to think what will happen as long as they know that they getting the money," said Channae Thompson.

A worrying trend has been the sending of nude photos to a boyfriend's cell phone or social media.

"Most girls would do that, because if you take a picture and put on Facebook of you studying, you will never get a like, but if you do something like that, maybe you get like a 100 or 200 likes. Some people do it for Facebook fame and not think about what will happen after," charged Pickett, as she urged her peers to stop this vulgar act.