Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Youth called to lead Jamaica

Published:Friday | July 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Benjamin Fraser

Called To Lead Jamaica believes that providing the conditions for positive youth development is a responsibility shared by families, schools, and communities.

These conditions, according to the Benjamin Fraser, the organisation's president, promote healthy youth development and interventions recognising their strengths while seeking to promote positive development rather than addressing risks in isolation.

"Having been through the high-school system, there needs to be a reformation of the disciplinary framework. The current process does not allow for rehabilitation, as suspending or giving the students detention does not help them. Guidance and counselling units are burdened, and many of these students do not get the help they really need," Fraser said.


Six schools


Called to Lead Jamaica, he said, has started interventions in six of the island's schools, offering counselling and resources to students. "We want students to grow through exposing them to leadership qualities, enabling them to hone their own leadership potential. Many of these students are leaders, but their talent is misguided. We want to help them to redirect their energy in a positive way," Fraser said.

According to Fraser, the counselling sessions cover a range of issues, including goal attainment, career development, and personal development. Creative methods, he said, are used to generate interest in the sessions, especially for those students from dire socioeconomic backgrounds.

"We are based at the Corporate Area Probation Office, and we provide a stipend for the students to travel. Many of them are interested but have to make personal sacrifices to attend the sessions. We meet with them every other week for a period of time, however, the standard is six times per year," he said.

So far, Called To Lead Jamaica has recruited more than 60 volunteers from the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, and according to Fraser, plans are in the pipeline to recruit more volunteers this September.

This summer, Called to Lead Jamaica will be partnering with Ardenne High School to host a Summer Intervention Programme from July 10-12, 2017. The sessions will be held on the school's campus daily from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. daily.