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Jan 30, 2017

U.B. Social Work Department to Help Police Mentorship Program

Ava Pennill

The Belize Police Department has partnered with the University of Belize and the Ministry of Human Development on a mentorship program for at-risk Belize City youths. In its new policing strategy to break the criminal gang cycle, the department identified children to be a part of the program, some of whom were signed up by their parents. Now, the Social Work Program at the University of Belize has an internship component to the practice profession that includes group facilitation and intervention. Chair of the Social Work Department at UB, Ava Pennill, says that this intervention program is directly linked to the purpose of social workers.


Ava Pennill, Chair, Social Work Department, University of Belize

“We are working along with the police department and assisting the police department with facilitating groups of young persons from the different areas of Belize City. And we will be looking at different areas of development. Another faculty at the department has developed the curriculum on what they will speak about, what they will discuss within the group and we are also looking at other types of behavior within the group. We are looking at sharing, respecting each other, learning group processes, learning how to work together as a group and then learning about themselves as well and learning about other people of similar age and gender. The importance of this is that everybody has their strengths and everybody is a leader in their own right. We need to not expose these…yes expose these children or put them in an environment where they can examine themselves, examine their strengths, understand the environment in which they live—in which all of us live—and make a decision as to what they would like to do. This is not a cure-all. This is for you to be more aware of yourself, your abilities and what you can do. This is about resiliency, helping children to become resilient. There is a lot of literature on resiliency; not because of your environment means that you are doomed.”


The children will be mentored in different subject areas and sports.

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