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JIS News
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A special programme called, ‘Our Healthy Lifestyle Bus’, which aims to promote healthy lifestyles among young persons, will be launched by the end of March by Children First, a non-profit organization which caters to the needs of children, through the provision of education, trade skills and life skills training.
Executive Director of Children First, Claudette Richardson-Pious told JIS News that peer educators and young performers would be using a bus to tour the island and provide information on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as information on health care. Other topics, such as drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse and the importance of a healthy lifestyle would be dealt with. “We’ll be using modern music to attract the young people, “she pointed out. Mrs. Pious said that some of the graduates of Children First, recruited to work on the bus as peer educators, would give talks and share their experiences in helping to motivate other young persons to achieve their goals.
Over the years, Children First has received financial assistance from a number of organizations, including the Government, individuals and donor agencies. In February 2003, it received funding from the Japanese Government and the European Union (EU) to construct a $5 million multi-purpose building equipped with classrooms, storerooms, work centres and a play area for recreational and group activities. The National Land Agency (NLA) provided the land at 3 Windsor Road in Duncan’s Pen, St. Catherine, where the building will be erected.
Mrs. Pious said the organization was looking forward to relocating its headquarters to the new location.The Executive Director said the organization was now looking at the possibility of introducing skills training and other community programmes on the site and working with persons from within those communities. Since its inception in 1997, the organization has catered to the needs of more than 2,000 young people between 3 and 24 years of age. Children First is open to any child who has been abandoned, neglected or who is not receiving care.
Some of the services offered include basic skills training, school/homework assistance, parenting skills, recreational/sporting activities, life/survival skills, career guidance and youth advocacy training.