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Aug 31, 2017

Healthy Living Visits Youth Enhancement Services

By next week all children across the country should be back in the classroom for the new school year. In Belize, children ages fourteen and under must be enrolled in school. Yet, every year, there are some children who for one reason or another will not be putting on a uniform to head back to class. Since the late eighties, one organization has been working to help these – specifically young girls. They’re finalizing their registration process this week and are hoping that young girls watching will take this opportunity to sign up. We find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

The Youth Enhancement Service – better known as Y.E.S. – is a non-governmental organization that started in 1989 with a specific purpose of uplifting young Belizean girls.  It operates a teen mom’s center in Belize City, it runs educational campaigns on sexual exploitation of young girls and its flagship program is its education program in Lords Bank.


Karen Cain

Karen Cain, Executive Director, Youth Enhancement Services

“We offer an alternative education program for young women between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. We basically offer Math and English, Computer Skills; right now we’re doing Sewing and sometimes we do Gardening and we also include Spirituality in that. There are several reasons in my experience why they are not in school. Some of them have to do with behavioral issues. Why are they behaving this way? Most of them in the program have had at our center or that we have worked with in the past have suffered some sort of issue of abuse. Most of them have low self esteem. They dont have that support system at home sometimes there is only a mother who is trying her best to be there for them. Most of them say they don’t live with their biological father. So they feel alone. Sometimes they start to hang out with people who are a bad influence and so they are kicked out of school maybe they did not pass and parents may have given up on them. So that child is left hanging unattached and have not had that support that she truly needs.”


Executive Director, Karen Cain, says that the program is an intervention. The aim is to have the girls return to school or find gainful employment.


Karen Cain

“If you’re not been in a classroom for three four years and you’re out there doing nothing we try to refresh your memories. It’s time for you to learn these basic stuff so you can go back to high school. If it’s not high school, maybe you want too tart your own business or work for somebody else. But you have to have something that you can say you have for you to support your family or for yourself.”


This year, Y.E.S. has restructured the program to allow for the teen moms from their other program to take one or two o classes as well.


Karen Cain

“We have always had teen moms at the center. But those who come have very good support system maybe at homes or other family members. When we talk to them, they say they need a babysitter. We have tried that but our staff is so small that it may not be feasible all the time. So were saying to them that if it’s possible, one or two days out of the week they can apply to come to the center and look at subjects they think they would need.”


Registration for the course is simple as Training Center Coordinator Stephanie Reina explains.


Stephanie Reina

Stephanie Reina, Training Center Coordinator, Y.E.S.

“We’re asking them to come from now until Friday the first of September anytime between the hours of eight to four. Bring their social security card. They can bring their parents with them and if they have any questions they can come do so. So were asking them to come. It’s free of cost. Its just ten dollars for registration. We here at Y.E.S. are willing to help these young girls and we look forward to have them here.”


Ultimately, they want these girls to know that there are alternatives available to being a high school dropout.


Karen Cain

“It’s never late. It’s never late to further your education. There may be obstacle, but never leave education as something behind. Push yourself and that is what we do here – we motivate, we empower them and once we see they are prepared we then hurriedly get them back to an institution so they can continue. Let’s be real, even family members will say I will help but then after a while they get tired of you in their space, in their face and you have to say: This is my life.Grab it by the horns and decide what you are going to do for yourself.”


Classes start on Monday September fourth. 

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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