The Programmes Coordination Division of the Institute of Jamaica (IoJ) will host its annual HUSH Children Symposium on Tuesday, May 30, at the institute’s Lecture Hall, 10-16 East Street, downtown Kingston.
Programmes Outreach Manager and Events Coordinator at the IoJ, Kerri-Palmer, said the symposium will be held under the theme: ‘MENTal to METal: Building Resilience’.
Explaining the theme, Miss Palmer said that it is focusing on building mental fortitude, that is, helping individuals develop strength, flexibility and also to enhance person-to-person connections.
She said the event aims to have individuals from varied backgrounds, with challenging circumstances, share where they are coming from and where they are now, and the hurdles they have had to overcome.
Participants will be youth between 12 and 25 years of age, and according to Miss Palmer, “it is hoped that they will be motivated to excel, despite their challenges.”
“They should not see themselves as less than others, or as persons destined to continue the cycle of negativity and underachievement because of where they are from, their limitations, what has been done to them, or their abilities,” she added.
She explained the intention is for the youth to gain a new perspective on achievement and success, be guided to make the necessary decisions, and be exposed to the relevant resources to make these decisions.
Miss Palmer said the symposium resulted from the need to have negative issues affecting children and youth brought to the fore, to highlight the impact that they have, and to bring some measure of understanding, healing and closure to those who may have been affected directly or indirectly.
Since its inception in 2011, the symposium has covered topics such as: Sexuality and Sexual Abuse; Risky Behaviours; Broken Butterflies (Child Rights and Responsibilities, Delinquent Behaviour, Bullying); Disability, Equality and Accessibility; Playing with Fire (Petty Larceny, Bleaching, Aggressive and Violent Behaviour); and Walk in my Shoes.
Participating organisations include the Child Development Agency (CDA), the Work Safety Unity in the Ministry of Transport and Mining; Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse(CISOCA); Choose Life International; Community Mental Health Services, Kingston and St. Andrew; Caribbean Tots to Teens, and RISE Life Management.