Sixty at-risk youth graduate from empowerment camp
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
More than 60 at-risk youth from Tucker and Retirement communities in St James officially graduated from the Family and Parenting Centre camp last week at the centre's Unity Hall offices in St James.
Dr Beverly Scott, executive director of the Family and Parenting Centre, said the camp engaged the youth in academic and life skills sessions, conflict resolution, anger management and data processing techniques. It also included reading and mathematics remediation, interviewing techniques and applications and resumé writing components.
Scott said the camp was aimed at empowering the youth and announced that 20 of the participants had requested training with the HEART Trust/NTA to continue their training and certification.
"We have made contact with the HEART Trust/NTA based on the request of the participants who have expressed interest in construction, electrical installation, and customer service," she said.
In her keynote address, community development officer at the Social Development Commission, Carolyn Brown-James, urged the participants not to allow themselves to be marginalised, or blame others for their failures.
"Do not use the blame game, which is a negative element that stops us from achieving our best. One thing you must do is to have goals. Pursue them and take steps to achieve them," Brown-James encouraged the participants.
"Do not quit. And be careful of the shortcuts that some people take to achieve success," she warned, as the short route is most times very hurtful. Do not be inclined to take too long either, so don't take 10 steps to get to where you want to go when five could do.
Dr Eleanor Henry of the Poverty Reduction Programme of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund, the principal sponsor of the summer camp, urged the participants to use the lessons learnt to propel themselves to the next level of achievement.
"This camp has enhanced the feeling of self-worth among the participants, especially the males, and I am pleased that now we have more young male role models in both communities (Tucker and Retirement). I am hopeful that in the near future we will see some of you at the head tables and in the boardrooms as strong leaders in your own right," she said.