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Diaspora youth urged to serve as HOPE mentors

Published:Friday | July 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Participants in the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston earlier this week.

Jamaica's Youth ambassador to the Commonwealth and 2015 recipient of the Governor General's Achievement Award for Excellence, Sujae Boswell, has called on young people within the diaspora to serve as mentors for the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) programme.

Boswell, who is a coordinator of the mentorship component of the HOPE initiative, said that mentoring is one of the major ways that young people of Jamaican heritage living overseas can contribute to national development.

He was speaking on Wednesday at the Global Young Leaders of Jamaica Forum held during the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

"Mentor today for a better tomorrow. We have to start today because there is somebody out there that needs you. In connecting yourself within the diaspora, you can change somebody's life in Jamaica," he noted.

Boswell said the diaspora should make full use of technology to reach and impact the Jamaican youth.

"For the diaspora, technology will be a major part of the mentorship component. Through technology, you can share your experiences with youth living in Jamaica and support them. You can be the voice that guides a young person from a life of crime," he pointed out.

Already, 80 persons who have expressed interest in becoming mentors have been trained by the Youth Services Division of the HEART Trust/NTA and are currently being paired with participants of the HOPE programme.

In addition to HOPE, the diaspora youth are being encouraged to work with other programmes such as Jamaica Youth for Sustainable Development, Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme, and Diaspora Youth Connect, all of which have mentorship components.

The HOPE programme was launched in May by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to provide educational and job opportunities for young people.

The initiative is targeted at persons aged 18 to 24, who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training.

To date, some 15,000 apprenticeship spaces have been identified.