JIS News

The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) have signed a contract valued at $4.3 million, to facilitate a mentorship programme in 12 inner-city communities in five parishes across Jamaica.
At the launching ceremony, held at Jamaica House, yesterday (July 22), Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said that the one-year contract provides for services in the areas of mentor screening and identification, mentor and mentee training, pairing of mentees and mentors and case management of the relationships that would be formed during this process.
“It is the strong hope and desire of JSIF, that at the end of this programme and investment, mentors and mentees will have formed positively reinforcing relationships that will result in learning experience for all,” Mrs. Gillings said.
The Managing Director explained that the mentorship programme falls under the Inner City Basic Services Project (ICBSP), a project of the Government that is executed by JSIF. It is aimed at improving the social, economic and physical conditions of pre-selected communities, and also helps communities to maintain their environment, reduce poverty and minimize the levels of crime and violence.
“The mentorship programme forms an integral part of the larger ICBSP, which is a US$29.3 million investment in the 12 targeted communities across the island. The project is a five-year intervention that will come to an end in 2011,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Gillings said that JSIF has taken on the challenge of expanding the mentoring programme to the national stage.
“As part of our value added, we will be giving Jamaica an opportunity to invest in community development through investments in the young persons in our inner cities. Today’s event is not only about mentoring, it is also about volunteerism and giving back,” the Managing Director said.
The objectives of the programme are to register 180 Jamaican mentors, especially males and pair them with young persons between the ages of 13 and 19 years. The programme will enable mentors to provide guidance, counselling, advice and a positive direction to the young people of today.
Reverend Dr. Merrick ‘Al’ Miller, National Director of Fresh Start Jamaica, National Transformation Programme, said that with the launching of the programme, it provides an opportunity for people’s engagement and involvement in the process. “The potential for greatness is within them, only needing someone to guide them, love them and pull it out,” he said.
Executive Director of Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Georgia Scott, said the organization embraces this programme, knowing that lives would be impacted, lives would be changed and communities affected in the most positive ways.
“We promise to widen the participants’ vision of themselves, to deepen their sense of purpose as individuals and as Jamaicans. We will broaden the experiences of positive role models among the youngsters involved, strengthening their character and moral values. We will love them and let them know it and we will value them and guide them into fulfilling their awesome, God given potential,” Miss Scott said.