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As the nation prepares to celebrate Youth Month in November, Jamaicans are being urged to provide exemplary leadership for young people through their behaviour and conduct.
This call came from State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd who was launching the youth activities to celebrate November as Youth Month at a press breakfast held at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston last week.
Dr. Rhodd further encouraged adults to create mentoring and ministering initiatives that would become national models. “In schools, in the community, and in the church youth groups, through your leadership, let us inundate the lives of our children with attention, love and care,” he urged.
Dr. Rhodd took particular note of the fact that this year’s Youth Month followed closely on the heels of a number of tragedies relating to children and youth across the island. “Unfortunately much of the atrocities that are confronting the Jamaican youth are perpetrated by misguided youth themselves making the victims and villains interchangeable,” he said, adding that “we should pause to reflect on what has gone wrong in our society and how our actions collectively have impacted negatively on the youth of this country”.
This year’s activities which will be celebrated under the theme ‘Jamaica Youth.Shaping the World’ are a moniker of the National Youth policy, which was tabled in Parliament in June. This, Dr. Rhodd said, provided a strategic blueprint for the engagement, involvement and development of all Jamaican youth.
The Minister further announced that the Ministry had begun a campaign to create opportunities that will help young people to shape their own destiny. Since the tabling of the National Youth policy, the State Minister said he has been garnering support from the business community. “I have met with a number of institutions such as the Jamaica Employers Federation, Jamaica Youth Business Trust, and Jamaica Business Development Centre to ensure that youth employment and entrepreneurship is at the heart of economic development of this country,” he said.
Already he said, commitments have been received from these organizations to facilitate entrepreneurship through small business loans as well as business mentorship and an employment network. “I am resolute as Minister of State that if this country is to be competitive its young people must have access to appropriate resources to create wealth and employment opportunities for themselves,” he said.
In addition, the Minister said the process of securing partnership with international organizations has started in earnest. “We have seamlessly interwoven programmes such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the recently launched Youth Employment Network, which focuses on employment creation, entrepreneurship, employability and equal opportunity,” he said.
In closing, the State Minister encouraged Jamaicans to “adopt” at least one child in the community for at least a month to expose them to a different and more positive environment.