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May 8, 2023

D.Y.S. Two-Year Youth Reformation Program in Mountain Pine Ridge

Kevin Cadle

The Department of Youth Service has established an ambitious two-year youth reform program in Mountain Pine Ridge called the D’Silva Youth Mountain Challenge. Kevin Cadle the Director at D.Y.S. and his Deputy Director, Walton Garbutt, are hoping to radically transform the lives of young men who have dropped out of school, who are members of gangs or at risk of becoming gang members. Thirty-two young men from Belize City and Dangriga are already enrolled in the program that was officially launched today. In speaking with Cadle at his office in Belize City, he explained that the program is one of the most well thought out approaches to mitigating crime and violence in Belize and a first of its kind in the region.


Kevin Cadle, Director, D.Y.S.

“The main plan being that we needed an opportunity where young men could literally refocus and re engage and become self-aware of their own existence and be able to come back out as productive members of our society, pretty much in line with that we did the youth main streaming strategy which was accepted and approved by Cabinet back in 2021 and we felt that if we engage the BDF, police, coast guard, agriculture, forestry, fire department to say could we work on a strategy that when these young men complete a year can we enlist them in these services through not only becoming members or recruits, but apprentices in these areas. Another element we were looking at closely was a sports strategy, because we felt that if we have them there we could allow them to be physically optimized so that they could be good football players, basketball players, runners and so forth. So, it is a total empowerment, total bio-psycho-social empowerment, in social work  we call it the ecological systems to be able to transition young people who have not been disciplined, smoking weed every day, drinking every day, shooting guns everyday and to transform them into able bodied young men in our society. We felt that this was the best strategy.”

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