Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, has called on the country’s youth ambassadors to become agents of change and to develop practical and sustainable plans that will have an impact on young people.
“Create linkages and partnerships that can benefit the youth of this country. Don’t just become people who talk, become agents of change. You have been given this opportunity to become the mouthpiece of youth,” she said, while urging them to represent the country well.
Miss Grange was speaking February 8 at the Jamaica Youth Ambassadors’ induction ceremony held in the Tea Garden at King’s House.
A total of 22 young persons involved in the Jamaica Youth Ambassador Programme (JaYAP) were presented with their instruments by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
JaYAP is a programme of the National Centre of Youth Development (NCYD) and is designed to empower and increase the participation of young people in national issues in keeping with the National Youth Policy (2004).
In an effort to enhance the effectiveness of the programme, Minister Grange said that the Ministry has increased the number of youth ambassadors from 14 to 21, and assigned the priority areas of CARICOM, the Commonwealth, the Diaspora, Disabilities, Disaster Management, Healthy lifestyle, Rural Focus, Youth and Business, Youth and Technology, Youth in Agriculture, and Vulnerable Youth.
The other portfolio areas are Education, Entertainment, Gender, Human Trafficking, Organisation of American States (OAS), Sustainable Development, Values and Attitudes and the United Nations.
Addressing the problems of vulnerable youth, Minister Grange said that a plan of action was needed to streamline at-risk young people into programmes that will encourage personal and national development.
She called on Youth Ambassador with responsibility for Vulnerable Youth, Viswanauth Tolan, to be integral in the development of policies and plans to reach at-risk youth, in particular, those in state care and those living and working on the streets.
As it regards youth with disabilities, Miss Grange said that they have the capacity to contribute more at all levels of Government and they need to be incorporated into the fabric of the country’s development agenda.
“Disabled youth can become more active in the development process and I would like to see where they are given that platform,” the Minister said, while charging Sharmalee Cordoza and Tamara McKayle, who have responsibility for Disabilities to take on that special assignment.
CONTACT: E. HARTMAN RECKORD