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May 29, 2018

Journey Begins for Members of Police Youth Mentorship Program

Saturday was the first day of the second cohort of the Police Youth Mentorship Programme. Ninety-six mentorees from eight to seventeen years of age were matched with thirty mentors to begin the process of turning their lives around through coaching on anger management, conflict resolution and life skills with a bit of sports and academics mixed in. The programme will last for six months. News Five’s Aaron Humes stopped in for a look.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

If there is to be any hope of change among the City’s youths, it starts with this specially-selected group working out their energy at the Y.W.C.A. compound. The Police Department’s youth coordinator Douglas Hyde says they volunteered to be part of the change being sought.

 

Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde, National Youth Program Coordinator, Belize Police Department

“Today, we have ninety-six kids here, and our aim is to have a hundred; that is very good to see how the turnout is. And today we also have thirty-odd mentors which is also a plus. So this initiative as I said is very important and I look at it, in a way, as a success – because if these kids didn’t want to be here, they wouldn’t be here at all. They were not forced to come here; we gave them a notice and shared the information to them what the program was all about; we encouraged them to be part of it and they are here today. All we did was to pick them up and they are here today. And yes we know there will be some challenges, whether it be behavior, whether it be participation, whether it be attendance; but we will work on that. We will work on those who are in school and those who are not in school, we will work with them likewise to get them back in school; those at the working age we will try to see how we can assist them likewise, in the next five to six months, because very much important is this program is looking at skills but also leadership too. And so we want to help these young persons to think in that capacity of leadership.”

 

The audacity of that hope inspired two prominent youth workers among others to become mentors. Both have prior experience but say this journey will be special.

 

William Dawson

William Dawson, Youth Mentor

“This is actually my first time being a mentor with the Police Department, but I’ve been working at the prison for the last three years and I’ve been working with young people for the last twenty, twenty-five years. It’s a passion that I have, to see how well I can inject some positivity and try to motivate and bring hope and faith to our younger citizens of Belize.”

 

Aaron Humes

“You said this is your first time, so it’s your first time seeing all these kids. How did they strike you as you get into this important vocation?”

 

William Dawson

“Definitely the children are full of energy and they need positive mentorship. In fact I just spoke to some of them, and they are full of energy. We just have to teach them how to re-direct their energy from negative into positive, and stay focused and be consistent with it and encourage them to do better.”

 

Carolyn Wesby

Carolyn Wesby, Youth Mentor

“I will be mentoring the eight to ten year olds; the smaller ones; last year I had the middle group so this year I decided to work with the younger ones.”

 

Aaron Humes

 

“This is your first day, so have you noticed any differences between the younger group and the older set in terms of their issues and what specifically you would need them to talk about?”

 

Carolyn Wesby

“The issues are across the board, and don’t let the smaller ones’ age fool you, because it’s the same thing. To me this group seems to be a bit more challenging than last year, but I believe that working together, we’ll succeed.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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