Unattached youth given chance at a fresh start
Twenty-one at-risk youth have been given a second chance at making something of themselves by undergoing an education and training programme put on by The Voices For Jamaica Today Foundation.
The programme, which had its launch on Wednesday, is being implemented in conjunction with not-for-profit organisations RISE Life Management and SOUL (Sustaining Our Urban Livelihood). The programme is being funded to the tune of €$20, 000 by the European Union.
It is a lifesaving effort, according to a few of the participants, who are being put through a series of vocational skills, business development, and life-coping-skills classes that are held at the HEART Trust/NTA campus on Ashenheim Road in Kingston.
"I was in another programme before this, but my life was in a downturn. So I left the programme before receiving the certification I needed. But this programme has opened my eyes to the possibilities out there," said Richard Murdock, one of the participants.
Two other participants, Coil McGregor and Victoria Lingard, heaped praises on the programme, calling it a success in helping them become worthwhile contributors to society.
Lingard, a young mother of two, said that she has matured since joining the programme and that efforts to reform her have been successful as it has raised her awareness and has made her more comfortable and confident in caring for her children.
Project conceptualiser Alecia Jones said that her passion came from the fact that she had witnessed a surge in criminality in the Maverley community of St Andrew, and after being part of a training seminar with RISE Life Management, she decided to seek support for a programme to aid unattached youth in inner-city communities.
"It's a valuable and worthwhile programme that is bringing change to the lives of so many young people, who otherwise could be idle and finding time for all manner of evil," she said.
Jones noted that it was important to get further assistance to offset other costs. The total cost for the project stands at approximately $5.6 million.