Joy and pride were evident on the faces of 14 windscreen wipers from communities in Kingston, as they collected their certificates after participating in a three-week Windscreen Wiper Intervention Initiative.
The young men, who took part in the graduation exercise at Garmex Heart Academy on Marcus Garvey Drive, in Kingston, on November 1, were part of a group of 26 who initially started the programme in August, and completed the course in September.
They were exposed to sessions on civics, conflict management, family life management and career development.
The programme, which is a collaborative effort of the HEART Trust/ NTA, the National Service Corps Programme, the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the private sector, focused on training and mentorship of unattached young men who found employment wiping windscreens across the Corporate Area.
The initiative provided the participants with the necessary skills, behaviour and attitude to promote their personal growth and development.
In his address at the ceremony, Director of the HOPE Programme, Colonel Martin Rickman, spoke glowingly about the level of growth which the young men have exhibited since enrolling in the programme.
“Since I’ve met them I have seen tremendous growth in each and every one of them and I am so proud,” he said.
The Director said the programme was formulated with a view of maintaining the true element of the HOPE Programme, which is to deliver training in core skills.
“This course is all about understanding and respect – understanding that they are a part of Jamaica and understanding how to do their own personal financial management. We have actually helped them to open their bank account and to get some form of identification as well as how to dress for success,” he said.
“Even if you are out there wiping windscreens, there is nothing stopping you from dressing for success and to show respect to others,” he told them.
Colonel Rickman said the young men were also taught how to prepare for a job interview and how to write their resume, adding that they were all eager to learn.
He encouraged them to continue to strive for success and that this course is only the first step in their journey towards success. “The sky is the limit,” he told them.
Head of St. Andrew Central, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jacqueline Coombs, who was also instrumental in getting the programme off the ground, expressed joy at the men’s growth and congratulated them on staying the course.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” she advised them, while expressing joy to be associated with the programme.
“You are more than windscreen wipers and this is something you should believe,” SSP Coombs added.
One of the trainees, Collin Brown, expressed gratitude on behalf of the batch, for the opportunity that the programme presented and for helping them to see things differently.
“We appreciate the empowerment. Now it is up to us as a team to get our hearts and minds steady for development on the education field of growth,” he said.
“We have the opportunity and the ability to always elevate and to make our lives better as well as our country better and to grow out of poverty,” Mr. Brown said.
The trainees will continue in a programme at HEART, which will help them to matriculate in their skills area of choice.