Youth Volunteerism And Activism


The Petersfield community in Westmoreland played host to a conference on Youth Volunteerism and Activism, last week, which had over 100 youth volunteers participating.
The conference was organised by volunteers within the National Youth Service (NYS), Jamaica Net Corp (JAMNET) programme, and is the second such event to be staged in the parish in the last two months.
Under the JAMNET programme Jamaican and Canadian volunteers visit both countries on an exchange programme for three-month periods, doing volunteer work in host communities.
Jamaican NYS participant, Isha Creary, told JIS News that the conference was intended to empower the youth to do whatever was necessary for the advancement of their communities. She said that efforts were under way to strengthen ties between clubs in various communities, so that networks could be established, memberships could be increased and the work of volunteers showcased.
Main presenter at the conference, Senior Director in charge of the National Centre for Youth Development, Ohene Blake, told participants that giving of their time could be considered the most precious commodity that they had, which made volunteerism a very virtuous and noble thing.
He urged all youth and volunteer organisations to reposition themselves to be relevant in this global environment in which they were competing for the attention of young people.
Canadian volunteer, Gary Johnson, told JIS News that participating in the exchange programme was very interesting. He said that learning to adapt to a new culture had been very educational to him, adding that he had found Jamaicans on a whole to be very friendly.
The 16 volunteers, eight Jamaicans and eight Canadians who are participating in this leg of the programme started their tour of duty in October 2003, when the Jamaican volunteers visited the Charlotte Town community in Canada. The programme ends for this group on February 25, 2004.

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