JIS News

Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Lenworth Fulton is calling on retired teachers, civil servants and other professionals to make a difference in the lives of young people by becoming volunteer teachers with the movement.
Mr. Fulton told JIS News that although volunteerism, a hall mark of the 4-H Clubs, was doing fairly well there was need for improvement in the parishes.
He said teachers, who were the vanguards of the movement, are now finding it difficult to continue that role as the work load in schools has increased and they are unable to find enough time to take on and make a serious impact on Clubs’ activities.
“So we need to revisit how we interface with schools and communities to find retired teachers and other volunteers to go into the schools on behalf of 4-H,” the Executive Director said.
He added that currently “a lot of our volunteers are retired civil servants, retired policemen, teachers and post mistress,” who have join the ranks of the movement to help train youngsters.
Of particular interest are the young people who are more at risk, including those on the streets who have left school without a solid foundation and those just leaving school who need help to move toward skill-based training to get jobs.
Mr. Fulton said that volunteer teachers would be placed in areas such as Home Economics, Agriculture, environmental awareness, and leadership and mentorship. “Our job in 4-H is to develop leaders not for 4-H but for the country, for church, schools, community the political parties, whoever needs young leaders as we try to instil the virtue of good leaders and to train them in this direction so they can serve other institutions,” he noted.
He encouraged persons wishing to become volunteers, to contact the nearest 4-H Clubs office. “There is no limitation, no age barrier, colour, nor religious difference. We would not want someone to be a part of the club who is not interested in youth development, so you would have to come with a good character and a basic education even if you are a truck or tractor driver,” he pointed out.
Skilled artisans who have not had a full formal education are also welcome to become volunteers, he said. He said skill training programmes are run by the 4-H in tractor driving and maintenance and food preparation. Mr. Fulton pointed out that reading and writing will become essential because a test has to be taken at the island traffic authority and instructions as some of the courses are in written form. However, he said, “We are not going to say people must have certain CXC subjects, we are interested in you and if you can read and write we will train you.”
He added that the 4-H faces a real challenge to pay skilled persons to teach. The staff compliment is limited so skilled volunteers play a critical role. The Executive Director says the Clubs is also asking for assistance from persons who are able can make financial contributions as this will help to provide skills training to young people.
“So we are always asking people to make contribution to the 4-H in helping to train the youngsters. You can make your contribution for whatever area you deem necessary and we will put it to the use as you ask,” he stated.

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