Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann:
TWENTY-FIVE young men and women from St Ann have benefited from a week of life-skills training held at the Marcus Garvey Youth Information Centre in St Ann's Bay. The centre collaborated with the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Jamaica Red Cross, and the HEART Trust NTA to make the training possible.
Youth empowerment officer in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Anisa Wilson, said the aim was to give the participants hope and to point them to where they could get help.
The youth, aged 16 to 24, were drawn from youth clubs and youth organisations across the parish. They were introduced to topics such as career decision making, HIV/AIDS, and drug prevention. The training was free.
"They got training as peer educators in HIV/AIDS and drug-prevention advocates," Wilson explained. "Today, the representative from HEART Trust is telling them about the programme they offer. HEART will also do an assessment to see if they can fit into any of their programmes at this time."
Thankful for opportunity
Wilson said the training was not a one-off thing as a yearly assessment would commence and participants would be evaluated at the end to see how successful the training was.
Two participants, Ean McIntosh and Oneil Clarke, were thankful for the opportunity the week-long training offered.
"The week has been very informative. I find the topics very interesting. I've learnt a lot of new things, and what I knew before was refreshed," said McIntosh, of the Ocho Rios Police Youth Club. "I'll definitely impart it to all the organisations that I'm a part of. Drug abuse was the most interesting topic for me because I did not know that much about drug abuse. It was an eye-opener, personally."
Clarke, president of the St Ann Parish Youth Council and St Ann's Bay Police Youth Club, described the week as being "very good" as the group represented a wide cross section of youth in the parish.
"The aim is to get some of these young people in school or in a job," Clarke said.
At Friday's graduation ceremony, Pastor Omri Davis of the Ocho Rios District of Seventh-Day Adventist Churches encouraged participants to believe in themselves and to strive to reach their goals.