Mentors Dedicated to Work Along with Youth‏

Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 27, 2016 (SKNIS):  Ten distinguished and dedicated men have been identified to work along with the 10 young males from the Department of Gender Affairs Boys Mentorship Programme, launched on Thursday, July 21.

 The mentorship programme is aimed at providing adolescent males with opportunities for adventure, self-discovery, cultural exchange, leadership building, developing traditional and non-traditional skills and service through training. It is put forward as a transformation programme that will incorporate the needs of adolescent boys. The programme also aims to provide opportunities for the holistic development of adolescent males, including sharpening of learning skills, encouraging personal growth and developing relationships.

 In an interview with the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS), one of the mentors, Anthony Wiltshire, Director in the Department of Sports, explained the technique he would use in mentoring.

 “I am using modelling more or less,” said Mr. Wiltshire. “I want them to look at the good models we have around us and try to get them to emulate those models. I want to impress upon them that several of us were just like them. We came out of the bowels of poverty but we had ambition and we told ourselves that the only way out of poverty is through education, so we ensured that we remained positive and we avoided getting into the negative situations such as bad company and drugs.”

 Mr. Wiltshire said that as youngsters, they have to tell themselves that each one of them has the potential to become somebody regardless of his/her circumstances. He noted that his aim is simply to get the young boys to change their attitude and stay on the straight and narrow road so that societies can improve.

 There are presently five elements to the Boys Mentorship Programme. These include life and social skills; mentor and mentee training and attachment; technical skills and job attachment; community service project, as well as scholarship opportunities.

 Dion Browne, Gender Field Office in the Department of Gender Affairs, gave a brief overview of the elements.

“Life and social skills will provide training for boys at-risk, to enable them to adopt positive behaviour in order to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of daily life,” said Mr. Browne. “The adolescent males should be able to prepare curriculum vitae, communicate effectively, develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, budget, manage time and cope with stress. Other areas of training should include, preparing for a job interview, work ethics, conflict management and resolution, negotiation, goal setting and public speaking, emotional intelligence, relationship building, career awareness and self-confidence.”

 The Mentor and Mentee training and attachment element is designed to have mentors spend at least one (1) hour per week with their mentees. The mentor will be expected to assist in the development of the adolescent male emotionally, socially, culturally, spiritually and morally. It is also expected that Mentors and Mentee will develop a positive healthy relationship, in addition to understanding their roles and responsibilities, which will be clearly identified and assessed after a twelve (12) months attachment. The Technical Skills and Job Attachment will provide training for boys at-risk, in non-traditional and traditional skills. The adolescent males should have the knowledge and capabilities to perform specialized tasks after being trained in this element. Some recommended skills are plumbing, mechanics, bartending, agro-processing, painting, and graphic designing.

 The Community Service Project is designed to develop within the mentees, a sense of community, belonging and compassion. It also encourages volunteerism and humanitarianism. Mentees are expected to brainstorm, plan and execute one community service activity or project within a community. The scholarship element is designed in collaboration with the private sector to encourage and assist in the further development of the adolescent males, who actively participate in the Mentorship Programme, and who demonstrate an ability to attend a local tertiary institution of learning

 Outside of these elements, the boys will also engage themselves in various fun activities including but not limited to movie nights, trip to Nevis, games night, boys conference and a retreat.

 Mr. Browne said that the Programme “came out of the realization that there isn’t much programmes that empower young men, engage them and support their development. The Department of Gender Affairs believes if it gives such empowerment and support to adolescent males that it will produce safer homes and communities, and stronger families.”

 The Boys Mentorship Programme is expected to be an ongoing Programme. Currently the Programme is being piloted at the Charles E. Mills Secondary School in Sandy Point, and is expected to be extended to other secondary schools in St. Kitts and Nevis after an evaluation of the Programme’s first year. The Department will work with these boys until they are eighteen.

 Other mentors include Darryl Lloyd, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Melvin James, Director of Agriculture, Terry Morris,  Consultant, Narren Maynard, Probation Officer, Walcott Hilock, CEO All Solutions Ltd, Pastor Phillip Webbe,  Keith Warner, Counselor, Stuart Versailles, Agricultural Officer, and Leslie Connor, Businessman

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