JIS News

In the past, an entire village was instrumental in raising the Jamaican child, however several social and economic factors have led to the erosion of this tradition. As a result, one of the challenges facing society is the way in which children are nurtured, convenor of the Values and Attitudes Committee, Reverend Marjorie Lewis has observed.
In response to this challenge, the Rotary Club of Kingston – Downtown, will be launching a mentoring campaign for its membership and any other interested volunteers. This initiative is being endorsed by the Values and Attitudes Committee, which has during the past two years, operated under the slogan ‘For a Better Me, For a Better You, For a better Jamaica.’
In an interview with JIS News Rev. Lewis asserted that Jamaicans must get involved in socialising and caring for the nation’s youth or face the consequences. She made reference to studies which “point to the need for us to nurture and care for children because often the children who are not properly loved and cared for have a higher propensity to be involved in violent and other antisocial behaviours.”
“We need to look at ways in which we can assist our children, and one way that we can do that is through mentoring,” she said, adding, “we want to say to people that we can make a difference. We can make a difference in a way that does not require us to have a lot of money. It requires our time and our love, and if we put this time and this love intentionally and with some guidance, into the lives of these children, it will reap dividends”.
According to Leonard Green, President of the Rotary Club of Kingston – Downtown, the Club’s decision to embark on this initiative at this time was, “in furtherance of one of the tenets of Rotary,” as service is the essence of the Club’s work.
“Our motto, ‘Service above self’ is the driving force behind our motive to undertake this campaign. But we are hoping for a better Jamaica and a better world.
That’s what we want to achieve,” he explained. On Saturday, February 26 and Saturday, March 5, 2005 the Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) organisation will train the volunteers who have pledged their support for the mentoring campaign.Speaking with JIS News, Y.O.U.’s Mentoring Coordinator, Annelise Christie gave details on the two-day training programme in which the volunteers will participate.
“Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and the sessions go until 4:00 p.m. In addition to general information on mentoring, techniques of mentoring and pointers etcetera, we have different topics that are relevant to today’s adolescents and we invite presenters that are experts in their field,” Ms. Christie informed.
Y.O.U. is a voluntary organisation, which was launched in 1991 to serve Jamaican adolescents and children. The organisation has over the years, established a successful mentoring programme, which seeks to ensure that every adolescent is provided with the emotional support necessary to build self-confidence and self-esteem.
While the organisation plays a critical role in the recruitment and training of mentors, Y.O.U. also monitors the mentoring relationship to ensure its success.
“We have constant close supervision of our mentoring relationships. We try to keep the lines of communication as open as possible, by constantly checking up on them by telephone and e-mail. We encourage them to contact us if they have problems, and we do our part by contacting them on a monthly basis so if the relationship is not going as it should then we will be able to act accordingly,” Ms. Christie outlined.

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