Sun | Oct 21, 2018

State wards get a helping hand

Published:Wednesday | January 3, 2018 | 11:04 PM

Youth at The Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre were fÍted to a New Year's treat hosted by YARD Empire in association with DTP Communications through their Heart of a Child Foundation last month.

The 39 boys in state care enjoyed an atmosphere of warmth, joy and inspiration as the organisers donated numerous supplies to the facility and held a rap session, including motivational talks to enable them to refocus for the upcoming year.

Martin Dryden, superintendent of the correctional facility, welcomed the guests as he shared in the delight of having a non-governmental organisation and a private entity partnering and giving support for rehabilitation. He used the opportunity to urge society to provide employment so that the youths can contribute meaningfully on being released.

Words of hope

Words of hope also came from another director of YARD, Dennis Archer, who said "don't be afraid to ask for help, as we are here to facilitate some of your requests".

Added Archer: "We understand what you're going through in this phase and that, upon completion, you will be seeking out new opportunities to improve your lives."

Keith Byfield, main speaker and director of finance for YARD Empire, charged the young men to dream big dreams and to never cease that pursuit. He gave an overview of YARD Empire Foundation as a new NGO registered in June 2016 and receiving its charitable status in November 2016. He encouraged the boys to make the best use of the training programmes offered by YARD, both for the skills taught and for use of the arts in their daily lives.

Trudy-Kay Pottinger, CEO of DTP Communications Ltd. and founder of Heart of a Child Foundation, shared with the boys that everyone is entitled to make mistakes.

"You have to go through various experiences and look to the positives of the future," Pottinger said.

After explaining what she deemed as mistakes in her life, she ended her address by sharing that her foundation would commit to providing a scholarship for a young man from the facility to pursue training at an appropriate educational institution.

Iris 'Terri' Salmon, YARD founder and president, who arranged her organisation's partnership with the correctional centre, said she believed no child is born "bad" and expressed her organisation's commitment to helping at-risk boys reach for the stars through the arts.