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Mentoring programme launched for youth in juvenile centres

Friday, October 20, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Ministry of National Security is engaging influential Jamaicans in the empowerment of young people in juvenile institutions under the mentoring arm of its 'We Transform' programme.

Minister of State in the Ministry, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, said the mentoring segment focuses on interacting with and motivating the wards of the State.

“This is where we have a wide range of mentors who will be adept with various systems and initiatives… They will use these tool to reach the youth and engage small groups of wards across institutions, with the objective to educate, engage and empower,” he noted.

He was speaking at the official launch of the initiative at the South Camp Road Juvenile Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre in Kingston on Tuesday, where Miss Jamaica World 2017, Solange Sinclair, was introduced as the newest mentor for the programme.

She joined artistes Jermaine Edwards and Jeffery 'Agent Sasco' Campbell; model Kaci Fennell-Shirley; and singer/songwriter and media personality, Naomi Cowan, who have been going around to various juvenile institutions to engage the youths.

“Today, we welcome Solange into the 'We Transform' family. This shows how much this journey matters to her and how invested she is as a mentor and how much she values this initiative and her engagement with the youth,” he noted.

Sinclair interacted with the female wards at the South Camp facility, engaging in fun exercises, including showing them her Miss World walk.

The State Minister said Sinclair, through her national project, will assist with informing Jamaicans about the work of the ministry and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) through the 'We Transform' initiative.

“It will also help her to show the nation what she believes in and give her the platform to make a meaningful impact in this area,” he added.

Senator Charles Jr said her contribution, like all of the other mentors, will help to lift the spirits of the wards and motivate them to look beyond their current situation.

He argued that having these public figures as mentors will indicate to the wards that they are valued, and show them that people care about their transition and growth.

“Through these activities, we hope to inspire, rehabilitate and empower our wards,” Charles Jr said.
“The end goal is to make sure that we create the kind of Jamaica that is safer and more prosperous, and by doing so, we have to reduce our crime and recidivism rate – the potential for reoffending – and so we have to engage these youth now, so that when they are reintegrated into their communities they can find an alternative,” he added.

He made an appeal for more Jamaicans to support the rehabilitation programme.

“Give them a second chance; they deserve a second chance, and that is what these mentors are doing with their time,” he noted.

The initiative also involves engaging youth in training in academics, vocational education, and employability and life skills; internship/job placement, and an annual competition and exposition where they can showcase their skills and talents.

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