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Mar 16, 2023

65 Youths Complete Journey to Freedom Healing Course at Tubal Vocational Institute

The Journey to Freedom healing program has been gaining momentum in several Belize City high schools, as it caters to at-risk youths. Already, at least three Belize City high schools, as well as the Tubal Trade and Vocational Institute in Ladyville, have enrolled students.  Tubal graduated sixty-five of its students from the course earlier today. The program comes at a time when crime and violence are prevalent. So the facilitators hope that with this intervention, the course will help the youths to change their mindset, exercise more restraint, and call on a higher being when life overwhelms. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, reporting

The course these youths completed today that the Tubal Trade and Vocational Institute in Ladyville will not help them to score high in their academic work, but will be a test for them when life throws that proverbial curve ball.


Andrew August

Andrew August, Facilitator, Journey to Freedom Program

“A lot of A lot of individuals have the impression that they’re alone in their struggles, and the program allows participants to discover that others feel the way they feel. Others think the way they think, and together in small groups they can overcome. We’re trying to reach as many schools as possible because we realize that many youths are suffering in silence with depression and anxiety. So we normally just reach out to the schools so that we can introduce them to a program like this.”


Andrew August is the facilitator of the program, run by the Restore Ministry, a non-government organization. They’ve also introduced the program at the prison and he says while their situation might be different, finding a better way to cope is the common denominator.


Andrew August

“The problems may vary, but at the end of the day, the common problem, I would say is trying to bury what you’re going through. So even though the problems are different from the guys at the prison and the youths, they’re dealing with different problems, but the whole objective is to get them to understand and give them a way to release those problems. Talking about them, releasing it, and most importantly, trusting in God.”


The program has been running for over a year, with each course offered over a two-month period. Kayden Meighan is a sixteen-year-old youth in electrical studies at Tubal. He completed the course today.


Kayden Meighan

Kayden Meighan, Completed

“Ih teach yoh how fi let goh things and like change and improve yourself, and like humble and got manners fi people and lotta things, mein. I mi di goh da school right ya soh and dehn just pull me eena the program. Ih prepare me fi like, do better, do things better, change mi mindset positive and pray more often and thing.”


Courtney Sanchez, is also sixteen. She is enrolled in the Hospitality and Catering program, and shared with us that her challenge was coping with the loss of her mother.


Marion Ali

“What did this program teach you?”


Courtney Sanchez

Courtney Sanchez, Completed

“To properly grieve a loss and to forgive people that hurt you in the past.”


Marion Ali

“You suffered hurt in the past?”


Courtney Sanchez

“Yes, ma’am, a lot.”


Marion Ali

“What did that do to you?”


Courtney Sanchez

“Like, mek I give more trouble and behave outta order.”


August says that the program has taken root in schools because of its success rate among troubled youths.


Andrew August

“I would say fifty to sixty percent of change we see in the youths or the adults or whoever we’re facilitating to, because like I said, a lot of people are not exposed to a program like this. They’re not exposed to certain information, so the whole goal, like I mentioned, is to just introduce them to it and help them to change their perspective and the way they look at life.”


By this reckoning, one would think that this course would be a helpful guide to help those engaged in street crime.


Marion Ali

“Now in a world where violence seems to reign supreme and anger, there’s a lot of that out there, and revenge – everybody just wants bloodshed. How do you make this kind of program successful that it overcomes that anger, that it overcomes one’s impulse for revenge?”


Andrew August

“One school at a time, trying to just put the material out there, put the information out there and going through the activities because just like how we develop bad habits, good habits take time as well.”


Marion Ali 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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