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RISE Life urges support for summer camp

BY DENISE DENNIS Career & Education staff reporter dennisd@jamaicaobserver.com
Sunday, July 01, 2012

RISE Life Management Services has appealed for corporate support to help stage their annual summer camp, which targets inner-city youths.

The camp, which is to be held at the Shortwood Teachers' College, will run from July 18 to 27.

"We need corporate support; we need corporations to come on board and give,

especially in kind," said Rise's executive director Sonita Morin-Abrahams, at a recent Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

She noted that the summer camp serves to bring young people from across the political divide together in a comfortable and interactive environment.

"Young people who would never normally interact with each other or have anything to do with each other, they come together and have two weeks of fun. [And in doing so], they realise that they are just children or adolescents; young people like everybody else," Morin-Abrahams said. "It doesn't matter which party you belong to or [which party] your

parents or your community [belongs to]."

Project manager and senior youth trainer at RISE Shawn McGregor, said that there is no second-guessing the value of the camp, which will see participants transported from their communities to the venue at Shortwood Teachers' College at eight in the morning and then back again "at about five in the evenings".

More than 200 children between the ages of eight and 14 from communities such as Fletcher's Land, Allman Town, Parade Gardens, Majestic Gardens, Tower Hill, Waterhouse and Drews Land will be engaged in numerous activities that include sports as well as the creative and performing arts.

"There will be groups where children are divided into what is called 'families' of about 15, with a leader, and that way they get to learn about each other from different communities and that will create a greater level of bonding," McGregor said.

He added that the camps have been a life-changer to children for the 15 years they have taken place.

"Summer camps are fun, educational, and children speak about camps for years," McGregor said.

He told Career & Education that the camp is funded by the Ministry of National Security and the European Union to the tune of $3.2 million and in as much as it is fun, also addresses issues dealing with children's rights and crime and violence prevention. This, while teaching the children life skills, such as conflict resolution.

"One of the things is to keep them off the streets and keep them from getting into hazardous child labour," McGregor said.

Popular artistes and public figures are also invited to the camp.

RISE Life Management Services is a non-profit organisation that provides educational, vocational and health-related services to at-risk individuals, including those suffering from addictive disorders.

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