UTech, CRP remain committed to MNS' community intervention

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UTech, CRP remain committed to MNS' community intervention

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda, says he is encouraged by the University of Technology's (UTech) and the Child Resiliency Programme's (CRP) pledge to continue mentoring the over 350 at-risk-youth who participated in the ministry's Music, Sports and Technology (MST) Summer Programme.

The programme, which was executed under the ministry's 'Liv Gud' anti-violence campaign, was offered to students from six primary schools in the St Andrew South Police Division.

The students were from the Dupont, Cockburn Gardens, Greenwich, St Peter Claver, Tavares Garden and Whitfield Town primary schools.

According to Samuda, the programme was designed to alleviate negative psychosocial and psychological effects associated with COVID-19 in select communities. It also aimed to eliminate the likelihood of violence against children which, the ministry said if left untreated, may contribute to victimisation, criminal and violent behaviour.

He said that the programme represented “a new approach to community intervention. The students will receive back-to-school supplies such as book vouchers, uniforms, shoes and school bags as well as medical checks before the start of the new school year.”

Director for Community Service and Development at UTech, Paulton Gordon, said “we have classes where we bring children in on a Saturday, and UTech students and teachers would teach them.”

He said the classes can be considered as an extension to the ministry's initiative for the students who participated in the three-week long summer programme.

Gordon added that the university implemented activities to complement the technology arm of the summer programme, which appealed to child creativity and leisure.

“We took the kids to the UTech campus in groups of 30 and exposed them to basic technology and animation,” he explained.

He said students were also introduced to platforms for online learning such as Zoom and Google Classroom.

Meanwhile, the CRP said it will continue to play its part in after school engagement for at risk-youth.

According to the ministry the programme, which is run by Dr Kim Scott, helps children with personal development life skills and academics.

Coordinator of the CRP, Delano Campbell, said the programme is “tailor made to reach those students who the normal school system would not be able to.”

He said that with the assistance of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), the programme has been able to engage “vulnerable and behaviourally challenged” children while providing support intervention through tools such as games and quizzes that stimulate behaviour change.

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