Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Mixed outcomes for Re-Birth Project

Published:Monday | March 21, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Melody Cammock-Gayle, director of MC and Associates and co-founder of the Re-Birth Project, discusses the pending season with Paul Ashley, education officer, at the launch of phase three of the project at the Spanish Court Hotel on Saturday.
Michael Maragh makes his presentation.
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Despite mixed results in the first two phases, organisers of the Re-Birth Project launched the third phase of the programme and expect to bring further changes the lives of many unattached youths.

The Re-Birth Project is an intervention initiative for at-risk teenagers from the Tivoli Gardens and Norman Manley high schools and their parents. The third phase will kick off on April 16. Speaking at Saturday's launch at the Spanish Court Hotel, Melody Cammock-Gayle, co-founder of the project, told the gathering that despite the many challenges, they are committed to the success of Jamaica's youths.

"We saw highs and lows. We heard a father testify to the improved relationship he had with his son and how much he has been trying to practise alternative disciplinary measures. We also had a mother telling us that she has started to hug her child more often, a practise she seldom did in the past," she said. Cammock-Gayle said phase three will be packed with informative but exciting activities.

"We have had to temper our expectations, realising that everything will not happen all at once. There are no quick fixes and there is a process," Cammock-Gayle said. "We remain committed to our young people, parents and the schools. Our commitment is fuelled by a strong desire to see a better Jamaica and a country where youths can utilise their potential, with a special focus on parenting. Our primary objectives are to help youths improve their self-esteem, self-control, self-confidence and an eternal sense of self-responsibility."

Principal finance officer at the Ministry of Health, Michael Maragh, who was guest speaker, highlighted his childhood journey.

"I stand here as a living testimony that if you put your shoulders to the wheel and get some help you can get make a difference. I am also a product of teenage pregnancy," he said. "Growing up in Rema (Kingston), I understand the struggles and the lack of opportunities. I know about failure. I have failed everything that can be failed." Maragh said it took him four years to acquire the qualifications to get to university.

"But I was persistent," he declared. "In life, you can't give up easily. You have to keep pressing."