Getting into the right frame of mind for back-to-school can be difficult for child and parent.
In an attempt to ease that reintroduction to the school setting, the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) and Mobile Reserve Chaplaincy Services Branch hosted a motivational clinic at their headquarters in Kingston yesterday. Assistant Force Chaplain Reverend Courtney Faulknor noted that this was the clinic's second year.
"We focused mainly on children last year. But parents, too, are very much affected," he said.
According to Faulknor, the focus of the seminar was on the spirit, mind "and anything else that will help the children to perform at their best".
The clinic is open to both police and civilian staff of the aforementioned branches. Faulknor noted that because of their jobs, members of the security forces are not always able to devote as much time as they would like to their children.
"It's especially tough for those children transitioning from primary and prep schools to high schools," he noted. This year's event was themed 'I Am A Promise' and had guest presentations from New Nation Coalition founder Betty Ann Blaine and clinical psychologist Dr Sandra McDermott.
McDermott hosted a discussion with parents only, while the approximately 40 children were placed into groups of four, each one led by a student of the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology's counselling psychology programme.
Blaine said she believed the police can do more to quash the stigma that they are the public's enemy.
"If all of our police officers and all of our soldiers, especially the men ... decide to mentor one young man, each one mentor one, can you imagine the kind of impact we would have?" she asked.
"A mother can raise a son, but it takes a man to raise a man. So we are calling to the men, step up to the plate and mentor our boys."
Adopt a mentorship programme
Blaine suggested that the branch could adopt a mentorship programme.
"The boys need coaching, they need guidance. They need men to teach them to be good men, courteous men, productive men, men who will respect and honour women, men who will be leaders of integrity."
The children's group sessions included talks on issues such as peer pressure and indiscipline. Participants were also given financial advice by the Jamaica Special Co-operative Credit Union.
"Apart from being stimulated in the mind, we believe it takes money for schooling," said Faulknor. He said ISCF members from as far as central Jamaica made the trip, while most of the Mobile Reserve personnel were based in the Corporate Area, though they may have family in other parishes. Asked whether the clinic could be expanded, Faulknor was hopeful.
"It is more for this area, but I would imagine that there would be interest when the positives spill over."