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Santana Morris to advocate for youth development

BY AINSWORTH MORRIS

Sunday, December 31, 2017

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Recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Awards for Excellence in Leadership and youth ambassador for Jamaica, Santana Morris, will be using her platform to implement initiatives that will assist in the transformation of the nation's youth.

She says that one of her main focus as a youth ambassador, is to advocate for young people, while seeking support for their personal, social and educational development.

“Some of these young people who I want to target, they are from different areas across Jamaica, both rural and urban, college student based groups, schools, youth centres and unattached youth,” Morris says.

“I am also planning to develop some vocational programmes to help inner-city youth and unattached youth to see how best we can help them to gain Caribbean Examination Council subjects through literacy, so that they can gain employment or a skill,” she adds.

Some 79 young people who have made outstanding contribution in various areas were presented with the Prime Minister's Youth Awards for Excellence, during a ceremony held on December 6 on the lawns of the Office of the Prime Minister.

The youth ambassador further states that she plans on hosting workshops that will address some of the problems currently affecting the society.

“We are in the planning stage to develop programmes to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Morris, who is also the executive director at the Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic says.

The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people can enjoy peace and prosperity.

She notes that as youth ambassador, assigned to the United Nations General Assembly, she is hoping to bring national issues to the attention of policymakers at the regional and international levels.

“[I also hope] to provide an analysis of national and international youth development trends, challenges and opportunities, and to help young people to draft business plans and project plans so that they can get funding for their projects,” Morris notes.

She adds that she is hoping to mentor, coach and support individuals and encourage greater social inclusion of the youth.

As a trained educator, Morris has used her passion for literacy as a motivating factor to start the Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic. She has led a team of over 800 volunteers to spearhead the all-island Summer Reading Camp across Jamaica.

In 2016, Morris was a recipient of the Governor General's Achievement Award. She is also the recipient of the Under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leaders/Change Makers Award issued in Washington DC.

She is also president elect for the Kiwanis Club Chapter in Montego Bay; special project director, Book Industry Association of Jamaica; and a member of the Baptist World Alliance.

Morris was among six youth leaders who were presented with instruments of office to begin their tenure as youth ambassadors for Jamaica on November 23 at King's House. She will serve for the period November 2017 to October 2019.

The Jamaica Youth Ambassador Programme (JaYAP) was established to promote youth advocacy and facilitate the participation of young people in decision-making.

The responsibilities of the office include promoting and advocating action on critical national and international issues, and bringing national youth matters to the attention of policymakers and planners.


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