- More than 800 young people from six communities in St. Andrew will benefit from mentorship and remedial classes through the ‘Teach the Youth’ summer programme.
- The programme, which is in its 15th year, will run from July 7 to August 25.
- It targets youngsters age four to 20 years, in the communities of August Town, Kintyre, Tavern, Highlight View, Sandy Park and Saunders.
More than 800 young people from six communities in St. Andrew will benefit from mentorship and remedial classes through the ‘Teach the Youth’ summer programme, organised by the University of Technology’s (UTech) Students’ Union.
The programme, which is in its 15th year, will run from July 7 to August 25. It targets youngsters age four to 20 years, in the communities of August Town, Kintyre, Tavern, Highlight View, Sandy Park and Saunders.
The summer classes will run from Monday to Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and the subjects taught will include English, mathematics, information technology, personal development, entrepreneurship and development, and physical education.
Motivational sessions will also be held, and they will cover leadership, cultural awareness, respect, career and sex education, as well as a special session on oral hygiene.
President, UTech Students’ Union, Delta Wright, said that this year’s programme themed: ‘Seize your dreams…Wake the hero’, within promises to be “bigger and better” than last year, noting that the aim is to reach even more young people than they did in previous years.
“In 1999 when the programme started, we started out with just one community and to date we have six communities that we will be going into,” she said.
Ms. Wright, who was speaking at the official launch of the programme at the UTech’s Technology Innovation Centre on Friday, July 4, said that the initiative is designed to develop the minds of the youth, giving them additional exposure to a world beyond the confines of their homes and schools.
Focus will be placed on empowerment and promoting respect among the children in the targeted communities, noting that these are key elements in developing well-rounded and productive young people.
“We want to ensure that the UTech touches each and every life in these communities. We want the young people in these communities to know that they have the opportunity to one day attend UTech and to benefit from what the school offers,” she stated.
She also said it is the vision of the Students’ Union to expand the programme to reach youths right across Jamaica.
Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Andre Hilton, lauded UTech’s Students’ Union for the outstanding work they have been doing through the ‘Teach the Youth’ programme.
He said he is heartened to see young people so eager to volunteer and to give back to their communities.
For her part, Vice President, Community Service and Development, UTech, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, said the ‘Teach the Youth’ programme is a rich tradition, which continues to reap tremendous benefit for all involved.
“It makes us all feel so proud that our students have taken time out of their summer holidays to go out into the communities and give of themselves and share their knowledge with youngsters who might not be as fortunate as they are,” she stated.
Prof. Hamilton said she is particularly pleased about the entrepreneurship and development element of the programme, pointing out that the aim is to expose young people to the important elements of entrepreneurship at an early age.
“We want to empower young people with the information on what it takes to start and maintain a business in a highly competitive global economy, where the opportunities for jobs are dwindling,” she stated.
Manager, Special Projects Department, Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Andrine Davidson, said the agency is proud to see what the Students’ Union has been able to achieve through the ‘Teach the Youth’ programme.
“What you are doing is remarkable. We know that the UTech’s Students’ Union has, over the years, given more than a million hours in community service [and this is laudable],” she stated.
Mrs. Davidson pledged the support of the JIS to the programme, noting that the agency will continue to work with the Students’ Union to empower youths across Jamaica.
Teacher, McLeod Basic School, Scarlette Stewart, said the ‘Teach the Youth’ initiative has been a blessing to her community. Mrs. Stewart, who resides in Highlight View, said for the last four years, the remedial classes have benefited numerous persons throughout district.
“What I like is that even though there is an age limit, the teachers don’t turn back anybody. Sometimes someone might come who is over age and I see the teachers helping them,” she said.
August Town resident, Michael Palmer, also had high praises for the programme, noting that it has “totally changed his life”. Mr. Palmer, who was once a student of the programme, now participates as a volunteer.