JCF K9 Division equips youth with life skills
(left) Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Karl Bowen of the JCF Border Security Branch, Acting commander of the JCF K9 division Deputy Superintendent Ivel Calder, Dr Orville Taylor (extreme right) pose with particpants of the 2022 Summer Enrichment Programme organised by the K9 division. Friday was the closing out ceremony for the three week programme. (Photo: Jason Cross)

ST ANDREW, Jamaica— More than 30 children were handed a treasure trove of life skills during a three-week camp organised by the K9 Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and are excited share their new knowledge with peers at school and in their communities.

The summer programme, which was held for children of sworn and unsworn members of the JCF, as well as children from communities that surround the K9 Division which is located at Harman Barracks in St Andrew, culminated July 29.

Sixteen-year-old standout, Kenya-Alaine Chambers said she and the others benefitted greatly from the camp having received lessons on how to cope with life. She was particularly excited to be exposed to lifesaving skills such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.

“This camp was really fun. It focused on life experiences. It was all about how to cope with life. It was really informative. I really do pray that the organisers continue to improve and help other kids to learn this information so they can use it in their daily lives. A lot of young people nowadays cope in ways that include violence, which is not right,” Chambers said.

“We learned about CPR. As young kids, no matter the age, we should know CPR just in case something happens. I can now perform CPR and help to save a life. We learned about child and sexual abuse. People came and showed us safe ways to report these things. We learned about identity theft and a lot of other things that I can share with other kids to help make this world better,” she added.

Fourteen-year-old Jordan Ottar, was also appreciative of the information imparted during the camp.

“This camp taught me a lot of different skills that can be used to help with the struggles that come in life. The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) came here and taught us various things to do if you are being abused. Let’s say my friend is going through something, I can share the information that I learned so he or she can get help,” he explained.

Ivel Calder, Deputy Superintendent of Police and acting commander of the K9 Division, was elated about the new friendships that were forged at the camp.

“The children who came here, a lot of them were total strangers but at the end of it all, new friendships were made. People came together to learn how to socialise in different ways outside of what they are accustomed to. Over the three weeks they were exposed to the rights and responsibilities of children and parents and information of substance abuse and gambling and how to manage conflicts. We saw where with the reopening of schools after COVID, there were so many disputes. Regardless of what, if something happens they will remember one little thing that they were taught and just pull back,” Calder said.

Dr Orville Taylor, who is a columnist, author and educator, was also in attendance at the camp and imparted knowledge to the youngsters on how to grow into successful men and women.

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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