Tue | Aug 20, 2019

Second phase of True Vine Writers Club set for August

Published:Saturday | July 20, 2019 | 12:17 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
A group of mentors and youths who participated in the True Vine Writers' Camps in August Town in April.

Describing phase one of the True Vine Writers’ Camp as a manifestation of God’s power and awesomeness, founder Colleen Cohen told Family & Religion that the team is excited to begin phase two come August.

The initiative, which premièred in August Town in St Andrew in May, aims to reduce crime and develop at-risk youth through mentorship, employability and book writing, has a mandate to inspire hope by transforming families and communities.

“In doing this we have impacted 50 youth, 50 families and provided jobs for 25 youth in the community of August Town. Our impact is far-reaching as we have extended our impact in our mentorship programme where each youth is being mentored by a business professional. These professionals are destiny helpers, helping to mould and develop the youth we engage.

“Not only that, we include the parents in our mentorship programme and communication channels where they can see first-hand what we are doing and how we are integrating their child in a holistic and Christian-friendly environment,” Cohen said.

She revealed that there has been a notable transformation in the lives of the youth who were enrolled to the programme in May.

“They got much bolder in sharing their views about life and topical issues relating to nation building. True Vine Camp is a safe place for them and so they express and communicate how they feel to the ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ in the camp. This is truly something to give God thanks for because these youth were once shy and somewhat silent,” Cohen said, adding that God also showed up by providing for the camp through various sponsorships.

Among those she highlighted were the Yello Media Group, the Prime Minister’s HOPE Programme and Seprod, who she shared played an integral role in the success of the camp in the community of August Town.

According to Cohen, “We give God thanks for the unity, peace, safety and camaraderie that was felt during our camps also. The community supported us and we are but grateful. We are still reaping the bountiful blessings of God in that Jermaine Edwards recently sponsored five youth from our initiative who was a part of our camp in the community of August Town. We are happy and thankful for this blessing. The selected youth are also excited. I must report that one of our youth wrote about Jermaine Edwards being his role model in his story, and weeks after, he was one of the youth we selected to attend his role model’s concert.”

The passionate young woman told Family & Religion that phase two of the True Vine Writers’ Camp will exceed its forerunner.

“We’ll still offer our developmental services, mentorship, book writing and employability, and the HOPE Programme will still be offering skills and career development programmes through the Heart Trust/NTA. So interested youth between the ages of 18 and 24 can come out and register for the programme.

“Our second staging will also see a back-to-school treat for the children of the Arnett Gardens Gardens community,” she said.

The second staging of the camp will be held at the Charlie Smith High School in the community of Arnett Gardens every Saturday in the month of August.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com