Thwaites calls on communities to guide vulnerable youth
MINISTER of Education Ronald Thwaites is calling on community members to play a greater role in providing guidance to its young citizens.
He said this is crucial in ensuring that they do not grow up "in an emotional and spiritual wasteland", but are molded into well adjusted adults who can make meaningful contributions to the development of the country.
The minister was speaking at Tuesday's official launch of the Healing Opportunities Partnering Through Education (HOPE) centre at Drewsland in St Andrew.
He expressed the hope that a "community of care" would be created around every school and community, where persons of good intention, with a generosity of spirit willing to help to mentor troubled children.
The minister welcomed the establishment of the centre, describing it as "a beacon of hope", which presents an opportunity for community members to lead children in the right direction.
"Suppose every church in Jamaica had a 'community of care' as this project HOPE represents; do you realise what a new beginning would happen in this country? How quickly we could turn around lives and therefore turn around individual and national fortunes," he argued.
This initiative, he said, was also important in reaching the community's teenaged citizens who are often times unoccupied, particularly on weekends.
The HOPE centre is a community development initiative of the Washington Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was established as part of the church's goal to have a greater impact on the lives of persons living in and around the boundaries of the Drewsland community.