• Feature
    We Transform Mentor, Kim Bernard, speaks at the ‘Spring Brunch’ on Wednesday, May 22, at the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre for Girls.
    Photo: Contributed

    Story Highlights

    • When Marketer, Kim Bernard, learnt about the four juvenile centres that are in Jamaica, in early 2018, she immediately decided she wanted to be involved in youth rehabilitation.
    • Since then Miss Bernard has served in several capacities in the Ministry of National Security’s youth-based initiatives, including formally becoming a Mentor in the We Transform Programme, last December.
    • The We Transform Programme, which was launched in 2017, facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders who were placed in the four juvenile remand centres islandwide, through a series of activities engaging them in academics, vocational education, and health and wellness.

    When Marketer, Kim Bernard, learnt about the four juvenile centres that are in Jamaica, in early 2018, she immediately decided she wanted to be involved in youth rehabilitation.

    Since then Miss Bernard has served in several capacities in the Ministry of National Security’s youth-based initiatives, including formally becoming a Mentor in the We Transform Programme, last December.

    The We Transform Programme, which was launched in 2017, facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders who were placed in the four juvenile remand centres islandwide, through a series of activities engaging them in academics, vocational education, and health and wellness.

    In recognition of Child Month, which is observed in May, the idea of a brunch celebrating the young ladies of the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre for Girls was born to Miss Bernard.

    “We worked with them for Labour Day last year and I realised what an awesome set of girls that are here with so much character and charisma. After working with them, I decided to do something for Child Month, so I thought of hosting this brunch to celebrate them,” Miss Bernard tells JIS News.

    According to the Marketer, she received a lot of support from the Ministry of National Security and the private sector when she shared her idea with them.

    “I started reaching out to various persons and companies to let them know I would need support and every person I contacted was ready to be a part of this beautiful concept,” she notes.

    The ‘Spring Brunch’, which was held on Wednesday, May 22, under the theme: ‘Self-Love’, saw over 30 girls being feted at the South Camp Juvenile Correctional and Remand Centre for Girls, in Kingston.

    Miss Bernard says the theme of the brunch emanated from her belief that the holistic development of the girls should begin with a focus on soft skills, including the improvement of their self-esteem and confidence.

    “These girls are victims of their own circumstances and have suffered some type of abuse, whether it be emotional, mental or physical. Therefore, I thought it was important that their sense of self be the focus of this event. The women who came in and spoke with them ensured that they are aware of how important it is to view themselves in a positive light,” she adds.

    The girls saw presentations from former beauty queens, Terri-Karelle Reid and Kaci Fennell-Shirley, who shared lessons in vision boarding and etiquette.

    According to Miss Bernard, although she has been a mentor in the We Transform programme for just five months, the experience has been an enlightening one.

    “It has been really meaningful as I have been able to see how you can change how someone thinks and how they view themselves. It has been humbling showing these young persons how to take the positive out of a negative situation, as some of them have never thought of that before,” she says.

    The Ministry of National Security’s efforts to rehabilitate youth offenders has been lauded by Miss Bernard.

    “Having worked closely with the Ministry for over a year, I have hope that our youth have a lot of avenues to not go down or return to the wrong path, because there are so many initiatives seeking to improve their lives,” she tells JIS News.

    Miss Bernard is also encouraging Jamaicans to become a part of the We Transform Programme and other youth-based initiatives.

    “These girls need someone to talk to that can help them change certain habits or form new habits and that person can be you. So, I urge persons to come and get involved,” she urges.