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Nov 5, 2018

88 Youths Successfully Complete BPD’s Youth Mentorship Programme

Back in May, the Belize Police Department launched its second annual Youth Mentorship Programme, which culminated today with a certification ceremony for the youths who made it through to the end.  The programme looks at positively impacting the lives of at-risk youths by teaching them life lesson skills and equipping them with values.  The overall objective is to encourage the youths away from the gang life. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations)

“We have a gang problem in our country and the only way we can break that gang cycle is to ensure that we reach out to the younger generations today. If we turn a blind eye to these young people that we are dealing with it today they will be the next generation of gangs that we will have to deal with.”

 

Chester Williams

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

With that in mind and over the course of six months, the Belize Police Department carried its second annual Youth Mentorship Program that today saw eighty-eight boys and girls of Belize City successfully completing the program. The objective is to steer away from the children from criminal and gang life. The program began with the participation of one hundred and ten children, but as the days went by fewer children made it to the program but for those who held on, this is what they learned:

 

Elroy Carcamo

Inspector Elroy Carcamo, O.C., Community Policing, Eastern Division

“For the first three months, the youths were introduced to life skills through the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program along with motivation thoughts, law enforcement as a career, spirituality and educational tour. While for the final three months, it was more a mentor bonding time, educational tour with some presentations in partnership with YWCA, NDACC just to name a few. Some of the topics covered in life skills were goal setting, decision making, conflict resolution, anger management, effective communication and bullying.”

 

Friendships among the mentees were built and the bonds between mentees and mentors were strengthened over the past six months. And from what we saw today, they learned from each other.

 

Mentee

“This program aim is to empower youths and make us better. I must commend the mentors and police officers who all contributed towards making this year a success. They always told us what was right from wrong and they were always there to talk to. It was indeed a wonderful six months and I would do it all over again.”

 

Mentor

“When I first went to the meeting I kind of got scared and wanted to back out. I did not want to do it again but I stayed and I saw what it was like. I really and truly love it and I definitely want to be back again. I really and truly love the kids. I thought that I did not have patience to deal with children. I do not have any kids so I did not think I had any patience but my kids from the Yabra group thought me to have patience.”

 

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, says that the journey does not end today.

 

Chester Williams

“We all learned a lot from these children, in some cases more than they learn from us because these kids are very creative, innovative and intelligent. Sometimes all these young people need is a bit of guidance in order for them to be able to show their full potential. I can see where you all have done your best to bring that out in them. I want us to continue to see how we can reach out to these young people. Let not today be the end of your contact with them than you will be able to touch base with them on a weekly basis or two weeks or a monthly basis just to check up with them to see how they are doing. I am sure that will go a very long way with them to know that even after today you will continue to care about them.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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