Another 200 residents of West Kingston communities affected by recent violence, participated in the second of two therapeutic trips to Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril Westmoreland, enjoying a full day of fun, relaxation and emotional healing, on Wednesday July 14.
The project, organised by the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), a crime prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, saw some 140 children and 60 adults from communities such as Hannah Town, Denham Town, Fletchers Land, Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town, also enjoying an overnight stay at the Star Fish Hotel in Falmouth, Trelawny.
The initiative formed part of an overall effort at re-establishing confidence and hope in the children and youths, and empowering citizens to be involved in the rebuilding of their communities, and has been described as ‘successful’ and ‘a step in the right direction’.
A little boy (in wheelchair) could not afford to miss the trip for some 200 West Kingston residents to the Kool Runnings Park in Negril on July 14, even though he was still suffering from his injuries following the recent violence in his community. It was organised by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) in collaboration with the Negril chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
CSJP Community Action Officer for Trench Town, Denham Town, Hannah Town and Tivoli Gardens, Marcia Flynn, told JIS News that a team of clinicians from the Ministry of Education’s Guidance Counselling Unit, the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) and SISTREN Theatre Collective, which accompanied the West Kingston residents on their trip, has so far had successful counseling sessions with them.
“We had a very good time here last week, and the feedback was very positive; it was great exposure for the children. We have a team of counselors and social workers who accompany us on all the trips, to ensure that persons who may just need to ventilate, or if they may need any kind of support, that the team is there for such purpose,” Ms. Flynn told JIS News.
Most of the support staff were trained under CSJP programmes, including a four-month training course in social work at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“We are just utilising persons who have benefited under the programme already. There are psychologists who have volunteered their services to the project and we are in partnership with the Ministry of Education’s Guidance and Counseling Unit, as well,” she said.
These girls from West Kingston are excited as they participate in activities at the Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril when they along with some 200 persons visited the facility on July 14. The trip was organised by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), in collaboration with the Negril chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
Trained Social Worker, Eulalee Jarrett, from the Kencot community, has endorsed the programme as a step in the right direction for the children and other residents of the affected communities, and has recommended that it be considered for introduction into other communities.
“I am happy to be here, working with the children today, giving them moral support and to reassure them that there are people that care for them and that even after the recent traumatic experiences, there is still life that they can enjoy,” she stated.
Fourteen-year-old Kingston High School student, Johnoi Johnson, who is from Fletcher’s Land, described the experience as ‘very nice and enjoyable’.
“Today I am happy and I am swimming and enjoying myself. I am able to take the traumatised thinking from my head and just have fun,” she said.
Over 400 residents of West Kingston have visited Negril under the project organised by the CSJP, in collaboration with the Negril chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).