Youth Month activities for this year are focused on empowerment as a tool for development of the nation's youth.
The activities, which are being co-ordinated by the Youth and Culture Ministry through its various agencies as well as private sector entities, are recognised as part of Jamaica 50 celebrations and will seek to promote the participation of young people as “architects in national development”.
Celebrated under the theme: ‘Youth on a Mission’, the month-long celebrations provide young people with the opportunity to take part in national events aimed at improving their self-esteem, exposing them to positive role models and encouraging healthy lifestyle.
Following the official launch of the month on Thursday, November 1 at theSt. William Grant Park in downtown Kingston, activities kicked off with a rap session for economic empowerment at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) in Kingston on Nov. 2.
The session was hosted by the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) programme in collaboration with the CMI. There was also an empowerment session facilitated by the Department of Correctional Services atthe Metcalf Street Juvenile Remand Centre.
On Saturday, November 3, a Youth Gospel Explosion will be held at St. Ann’s Bay Square in St. Ann, beginning at 5:30 p.m. This will be followed by a National Youth Council of Jamaica church service at the Eastwood Park New Testament Church on Sunday, November 4, commencing at 10:30 a.m.
Several other activities will take place throughout November and culminate with a rap session for youth with disabilities, hosted by Youth Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna.
Other highlights include the hosting of four community fora by the Child Development Agency (CDA), as well a special interactive community session and vigil in St. James, in support of ending sexual violence against children. Also, throughout November, a series of empowerment sessions will be held at children’s homes, places of safety, and with incarcerated youth.
On November 15, the National Centre for Youth Development (NYCD) will stage a youth forum on sports and entrepreneurship at the University of Technology. The event seeks to facilitate dialogue among policy makers, sportsmen and women, and youth, on exploiting global opportunities for sports, as a tool for community and national economic development. Over 300 young people are expected to participate in the dialogue.
An art fair and skills expo will also be hosted by the NCYD at the Dolphin Cove Hotel in Lucea, Hanover, on November 23.It will seek to promote youth development through entrepreneurship, life skills and capacity building, with some 500 persons expected to benefit from this engagement.
The YUTE programme will also co-ordinate a healthy lifestyle expo on November 30, which will feature presentations from health experts through interactive displays and information booths. These presentations will be delivered by medical care organisations, government agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and corporate companies. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with agencies and acquire information and free health care services.
The Prime Minister’s Youth Awards for Excellence 2012 will take place on December 2. At the event, Jamaican youth will be recognised for their outstanding participation in the country’s development. For this year, 50 young people will be awarded in recognition of the nation’s 50th year of Independence.
The primary objectives of Youth Month are to: advance youth participation in the socio-political, economic, cultural and religious processes of society; celebrate and highlight the outstanding contributions and achievements of Jamaican youth; showcase and display the best of youth talent in Jamaica; promote national pride and goodwill; foster national, community and youth development; and empower youth, through initiatives, for their economic and social development.