JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Organisers of the University of Technology’s (UTech) ‘Teach the Youth’ project are pleased with the progress of the institution’s first youth summer outreach programme in the Mountain View community.
  • The community was this year added to five already benefitting from the university's Student's Union's outreach, which targets inner-city youth.
  • The programme is being conducted from July 7 to August 25 under the theme ‘Seize your dream…Wake the Hero Within’.

Organisers of the University of Technology’s (UTech) ‘Teach the Youth’ project are pleased with the progress of the institution’s first youth summer outreach programme in the Mountain View community.

The community was this year added to five already benefitting from the university’s Student’s Union’s outreach, which targets inner-city youth, to improve their academic performance, through lessons in literacy and numeracy, as well as motivational presentations.

Speaking with JIS News, Director of Community Service at UTech Students’ Union Council, Jevon Reid, explained that the performance of the students who attend the sessions has exceeded expectations.

He commended the participants for their attitude of excellence. “It (their behavior) has been outstanding. It varies in the different communities, but thus far we have been impressed. The older children, in the 14 to18 age group, are students at some of the island’s prominent traditional high schools and they have found the camp to be quite helpful,” Mr. Reid informed.

He also noted that despite challenges, the project’s debut in Mountain View was a success mainly because the community was prepared and receptive.

“Surprisingly, in terms of resources, Mountain View was well equipped.  We didn’t have a problem mobilizing resources there,” he said.

Mr. Reid noted that the decision to enter this sometimes troubled community was born out of visionary leadership and a desire to expand beyond the Papine environs, where the project operates in Kintyre, August Town, Sandy Park, Highlight View, and Tavern.

The programme is being conducted from July 7 to August 25 under the theme ‘Seize your dream…Wake the Hero Within’.

Students and volunteers on Monday, July 21, benefited from a lively presentation from the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) Director of Corporate Services, Errol Gardner, who addressed them on the topic: ‘Dangerous Habits that Can Prevent You From Realising Your Dream’.

He pointed to bad habits that can stymie productivity including drinking, smoking, gambling, early sexual activity, and drug abuse, urging the students to avoid falling into these potentially harmful practices.

“Gambling is not a good thing. Be careful how persons can lure you into gambling,” he warned.

Among the negative effects of gambling, he said, were loss of family finances; higher rates of relationship and family breakdown; emotional and health problems; and legal problems.

He explained that families affected by gambling often experience conflict among spouses and children; stress resulting from frequent irritability of the gambler; rising debt because of an inability to meet financial obligations, and generally high stress levels. These situations often spill over into the workplace, he stated.

Cautioning them against alcoholism, Mr. Gardner noted that a drinking habit can lead to loss of professionalism, unhappiness and serious, sometimes fatal motor vehicle crashes.  “When you are a drunk, people don’t want to work with you because you are unreliable,” he counseled.

Persons addicted to drugs experience irritability and inability to cope, mood swings and sometime violence, depression and anxiety, he stated. “These things can prevent you from accomplishing your dreams, so prevention is better than cure,” Mr. Gardner advised.

He implored the group not to “Focus on your school work. Not everyone can be lawyers and doctors. If you’re good at mechanics, go and get the formal training, if it is baking do that. Go for your dream.”

Manager for the Mountain View Teach the Youth centre, Arthur Compass, commended Mr. Gardner for his candid address, and the JIS for its efforts at reaching the nation’s youth. This is the agency’s second year as a partner in the project.