JIS News

Fourteen “Ambassadors” from eight churches in Kingston have completed values and attitudes training for handling conflicts, which they will impart to persons in their communities.

The 10-week training was conducted under the Hope Area Churches Organisation (HACO) Values and Attitudes “Train-the-Trainers” Course.

Included were Church of the Ascension; St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic; Providence Methodist; Mona Open Bible; the Church of St. Margaret; Hope Gospel Assembly; Hope United and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

The training forms part of the Government’s efforts to reduce crime and violence within communities, with a targeted approach to instilling moral values.

The participants were presented with Certificates during an awards ceremony, held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Kingston, on June 26.

Implementation of the training was done under the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Respect Agenda Campaign and is aimed at empowering the ambassadors to organise similar training courses for members of their communities.

Some of the core values taught included respect, self-discipline, social responsibility, honesty, family life and obedience to rules.

In her address, Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the training is an “important addition to efforts being made across the country to reawaken a sense of civic duty, respect for self and others”.

“We have a generation of young people that we need to save. If we do not intervene, the result would be worse than what we have now,” she added.

For his part, National Coordinator for the Respect Agenda Campaign, Reginald Budhan, said efforts are being made to expand the programme throughout government agencies, schools, and other churches.

“We’re also working with tertiary institutions, and we’ve developed a programme called the University Values and Attitudes Course, which revolves around the core values. We want to democratise it. We want this basic training to be promoted [and] we want plenty of hands to be on board,” he added.

Meanwhile, one participant, Dr. Sonia Gatchair, from the Church of St. Margaret, said becoming a HACO ambassador made her realise how values and attitudes help to “determine the kind of society we have”.

“We face some serious challenges in our society that no magic wand will solve. We need a multiplicity of different solutions, and this programme is just one small step that we can use to overcome some of these challenges,” she said.

Meanwhile, Councillor for the Mona Division, Andrew Bellamy, encouraged HACO to “reach out to the political directorship within the Corporate Area” for additional support in increasing the programme’s awareness.

“I think it is amazing to be doing this at this time, especially with everything taking place in the society right now. We could reshape a lot of the minds, create a strong mentorship programme and ‘re-culture’ the mindset of the youth,” he said.

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