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Church, Mary Seacole Hall, police to help youth get jobs

Published:Monday | July 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Though many persons look forward to fun and excitement during the summer holidays, various stakeholders have highlighted plans geared towards creating job opportunities for youths.

Reverend Conrad Pitkin, head of the Umbrella Group of Churches, says in addition to church camps and other activities, the church will be making a concerted effort to assist tertiary students.

"Most, if not all churches, conduct Vacation Bible School and camps, but in addition to that, my organisation in particular (Church of God in Jamaica), we try to reach out to college students especially, to see how best we can assist them with getting jobs," Pitkin said.

"The truth is, it's not easy as before because business spaces are limited, but we do our best," he added.

"Many of us (pastors), we try to open our church offices and get as many youths involved whether it's voluntary or a small summer job. We want to ensure that our youths are gainfully occupied and we can't leave out the aspect of enhancing spiritual well-being," Pitkin said.

The Mary Seacole Hall at the University of The West Indies, Mona campus, which will be hosting the 'I'm Glad I'm a Girl Summer Camp' is among several groups staging summer programmes with the hope of enhancing life skills among participants.

Shanique Scarlett, public relations officer for the programme, says the camp, which runs from July 27 to August 8, will be targeting close to 50 girls or more from troubled communities across the island.

Using technology

"This year, we want to focus on areas in technology and career skills. Our career day will be one of the highlights where we will be teaching our girls how to develop business plans, among other things, that will assist them in the job market," Scarlett told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile, Senior Super-intendent Karina Powell-Hood, head of the Community Safety and Security Branch at the Jamaica Constabulary Force, is encouraging youths to make use of opportunities that emerge during the holidays.

"For the areas that we will be focusing on, we want to take the youths out of the community because more than half of them have never left the outskirts of their communities; so most of our events will take them to other parishes and places," she said.

"We want to encourage parents especially to ensure that they are in touch with what their child is doing, they might not be present with them all day but try to be responsible and make sure that in the midst of having fun, children are learning," Powell-Hood added.