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Jun 29, 2006

Graduation of cadets is cause for hope

Story PictureIt’s an event we’ve covered many times in the past and will hopefully report well into the future: a small story of success in an area where failure all too often grabs the headlines. Janelle Chanona has more.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
After a year of hard work and dedication, today more than thirty members of the seventh intake of the National Youth Cadet Service Corps participated in their official graduation ceremony.

Many of the cadets arrived as angry young men but today even the tough guys admit their transformation is for real.

Lorris Espinoza, Cadet
?I feel like I deh pass out and move into a better generation. Like just get head inna life.?

Janelle Chanona
?I know they called you a hurricane when you first get here. You feel like you?ve changed a lot??

Lorris Espinoza
?Yes ma?m. Lot, lot, lot.?

June Espinoza, Mother
?He started listening to me and my mom at home. At first he was very rebellious and after this programme he has settled down a lot and he has shown great progress since this programme.?

Janelle Chanona
?You going back to your bad behaviour or you wah straighten up now??

Lorris Espinoza
?I wah straighten up, straighten up better. Straighter than anything.?

Janelle Chanona
?What would you say to the other kids out there who might not be treating their mommies and daddies the way they should be?”

Lorris Espinoza
?I guess they treat deh ma and pa good because without them they would neva survive.?

Janelle Chanona
?What did you like best??

Calvin Palma, Cadet
?Whe I like best? When they discipline yu.?

Janelle Chanona
?Like punish yu, you like being punished??

Calvin Palma
?Yeah, when you do something bad.?

Janelle Chanona
?Why you like that??

Calvin Palma
?Because sometime I get inna thing, they help me out fu get out ah it to.?

The cadets credit their metamorphosis to the B.D.F. volunteer commanders.

Corporal Jason Cuthkelvin, Corps Commander
?There?s no feeling, or there?s no way to express that feeling you know, because it is good to see kids move on and to see the different change in behaviour that they have. In regards to military, it is so different and I feel good about them and just wish that they keep it up and go to a school, another institution and move on positively.?

But not all the members of the graduating class showed up to received their certificates. According to acting manager of the National Youth Cadet Corps, Sandra McClaren, the boys were hurt that their family members chose not be in the audience.

Sandra McClaren, Acting Manager, National Youth Cadet Corps
?The Government of Belize can provide everything for our young people but one of the main thing that they need is the active participation of their parent. Many are privileged to have at least one parent being there for them and it?s still very devastating and challenging for them, so you can imagine how it is for some of our young men who don?t have any of their parents there to support them. This makes our task even more challenging, because we need to work with them even more indepth and let them know that when nobody is there for them, they have to dig deep within themselves and use the people who are there for them.?

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Youth and Sports
?A whole lot of adults have been present for pleasure but absent for parenting.?

Minister of Youth and Sports, Cordel Hyde says parents must do better.

Cordel Hyde
?The problems we have in our community with our young men senselessly shooting down each other or committing robbery or burglary, is a failure of us as fathers. If every father would be a father, if every father would help the mothers, then our young men would have positive role models around, a strong male presence and guidance in these trials and tribulations. So I would like to urge you the parents to stay in struggle, keep the faith and do all you can to ensure your children stay focused and become all they can be.?

A mentor program is being launched to offset the lack of parental participation but another gap the corps says it hopes to fill is the needs of young women.

Sandra McClaren
?We are thinking of going co-ed for the next intake, and more of that information as soon as we finalize, everything will be sent out to the general public.?

The National Youth Cadet Service Corps says the support of community members such as Omar Habet and Benny’s Home Center has been invaluable to the success of its programmes.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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