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Jul 9, 2019

DYS Hosts 2019 Youth Summer Programme

School children all over the country are finding ways to keep busy during their holidays. There is no shortage of summer programmes and today we headed out to the Department of Youth Services where their camp is teaching a number of relevant and fun activities in a safe environment. There is Mandarin for those who want to engage in learning a different language; engineering for those sharp minds and music for those testing their skills behind the keyboard.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano picks up that story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Summertime, for most students, is a much needed break from academic pursuits.  It is an opportunity to seek temporary employment, travel the country or participate in other activities.  At the Department of Youth Services, there are specific programmes that have been designed to impart useful skills to children and youths who have joined the annual summer camp.


Aida Escobar, Communications Officer, DYS

Aida Escobar

“From our main office here in Belize City, we have young people from about ages eight or nine and it goes up to about eighteen they’re learning, here we have some vocal audio engineering courses and anybody who’s interested in singing could come and learn more about their vocal cords.  Behind me we have a Taiwanese exchange programe so they’re learning Mandarin, but they’re also learning about the culture and some crafts that’s specific to that culture.  And then we have a lot of music classes for those who would want to learn instruments.  We have keyboard classes, flute (recorder) and guitar.”


Among the many participants is Leany Lopez.  She has opted to take three courses revolving around her passion for music.  Attending the programme keeps her away from the ills in her community.


Leany Lopez

Leany Lopez, Participant, DYS Summer Program

“I take vocal, keyboard and I do dancing upstairs.  It’s really fun, that keeps me distracted and I believe that we need fi get more children to come and be a part of this because that would keep them off the streets.  With all this violence going on, it’s not safe for them, so coming here would have them doing something that would benefit them.”


And the environment that DYS has created constitutes what is known as a safe space, an area free of negative influences that would lead to crime and violence.


Aida Escobar

“We love having safe spaces for youths and, you know, over the summer maybe sometimes we hear about crime happening in our streets, throughout the country, it doesn’t only have to be Belize City.  So we really want them to feel safe, having fun, making new friends, but knowing that they are in a safe environment with us.  But they’re learning too, not only fun things but learning leadership skills, learning how to work as a team and different crafts and skills that they can use when they go back to school.”


Off the many offerings that DYS has this year, Leany is most at home with her selections, since she’s also part of the Wesley College Marching Band.


Leany Escobar

“I find it more comfortable for me to do vocal, keyboard and dancing.  I play keyboard because I wanted to try a new instrument.  I play the flute at Wesley College Band.  I play the flute so I thought maybe trying a new instrument would be fun.  So I tried out for the keyboard.  They had violin and others but I’m more into those kinds of instruments.  I chose vocal because I want to develop my vocal range and dancing would just keep me happy.”


Going in an opposite direction is Valdemar Andrade.  He has chosen to learn Modern Standard Chinese, or Mandarin.  Along with that is a crash course on the history of Taiwan, arguably Belize’s greatest ally.


Valdemar Andrade, Participant, DYS Summer Program

Valdemar Andrade

“Right now I am taking the Mandarin workshop that they are offering for the two weeks and I am learning about the virtues, the history of Taiwan and how Taiwan is different from China, how it’s different from the Republic of China.  It’s the island off the coast of eastern China.”


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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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