Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon Lisa Hanna, says service clubs have an important role to play in providing mentorship for Jamaica's youth.
Speaking at a Lion's Club of St. Andrew brunch at Hotel Four Seasons, Kingston, on Sunday (January 15), Miss Hanna praised the club for adopting the Astley Chuck House at the SOS Children’s Villages, and urged them to offer critical mentorship to the children.
She suggested that, in addition to providing recurrent expenditure through back-to-school grants and other things to the House, the club provide mentorship to the young people.
"Because, what is going to happen when they leave to go to high school, or when they leave from high school, if you don’t provide the necessary mentorship to many of them, which is sometimes the most critical component for making sure that they get the kind of empowerment and motivation to move on; they might actually end up (in the position) of unattached youth," she said.
She suggested that the organisation consider making mentorship one of its involvement components, adding that mentorship should not only be provided on a once a month basis, but on a weekly or daily basis.
"Adopt one of those young people at SOS, and even adopt other persons in other schools…We in the Ministry also have programmes of mentorship that we do and…I can’t stress how important it is to take a youngster and help lead them through with positive motivation and character building,” she stressed.
The SOS Children's Villages is a private, non-denominational welfare organization, which provides orphaned and abandoned children with a permanent home, and prepares them for an independent life.
Minister Hanna also advised the Lions Clubs to extend their outreach to Jamaicans, especially young persons through their Leo Clubs, by growing the current number of clubs from 24 to 63.
"If it is that we are trying to change the concept of service, and really let young people understand what true service means, it means that you will have to communicate with more of them…If you have 63 constituencies, that is 63 communities, and really your objective is to impact communities," she stated.
She urged the organisation to make use of technology, such as social media, to reach more young persons with its message.
The brunch was held in honour of Lions International founder, Melvin Jones. Past President of the St. Andrew club, Wilbert Williams, noted that Mr. Jones, who died in 1961 at the age of 82, left a legacy that is alive and well today.
"Lion's Clubs have done a tremendous amount of work, working with persons who are blind and visually impaired; working with people with all different types of disabilities. In short, working with the more vulnerable persons in our society, and the disenfranchised people, and giving them a voice," he said.