JIS: The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is encouraging more service clubs to strengthen their partnership with the Ministry to bolster programmes being undertaken to ensure the holistic development of the nation’s children.
This call was made by Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Floyd Green, during the Kiwanis Club of Barbican fourth anniversary meeting at the Guardian Life head office in New Kingston, on January 22.
Three areas the State Minister cited for collaboration are mentorship, foster care and the expansion of the Brain Builder centres.
He said young people do better, regardless of background and circumstances, when they have a mentor to lean on, “when they have somebody they can bounce ideas off, who can help guide them down the path, and who can tell them about mistakes that they have made”.
“One of the things I would want to see the Kiwanis Movement and the Kiwanis Club of Barbican do is to join with us at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and provide us with a team of volunteers to mentor our young people,” he said.
Mr. Green noted that mentorship is important, particularly for children who are ageing out of the system.
“We want to pair every child that is ageing out of our State care system with a mentor. This will provide us with a better way to track their progress, to recognise when they are in difficulty, to intervene and to ensure that they are on a path to success in their own lives. Let us really embark on developing a battalion of mentors right across Jamaica,” he urged.
Turning to the foster care programme, Mr. Green encouraged the members to open their homes to children in State care and foster a child.
“All the research have shown us that children do better when they have families. No matter how good we organise our residential care facilities, it will never be as good as having a loving family to come home to,” he said, adding that the stipend for the programme was increased by 100 per cent last year.
The State Minister pointed out that there are approximately 2,000 children in State care.
Mr. Green said the service club can partner with the Ministry to expand aspects of the Brain Builder centres that will be operated across the island.
The Jamaica Brain Builders Programme aims to reduce cognitive learning challenges among infants in the country. It is a framework for action in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, which starts from conception in the womb to age two years.
Under this initiative, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) will be responsible for establishing 126 Brain Builder centres across the island, with two in each constituency.
In the meantime, Mr. Green commended the Kiwanis Club of Barbican for the work they have been doing in children’s homes and schools, noting that “our country and children are grateful for these”.
“You have done tremendous work, and I know that you will continue. I hope that as we work together to ensure that philanthropy really helps us to create a more equitable society, that we deepen our partnership with the Government to see, in some of the programmes that we have, how we can get to the root causes and remove them, so that we create a better Jamaica,” he said.
CAPTION: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green (right), sharing a good laugh with (from left) Opposition Senator, Dr. Floyd Morris; President, Kiwanis Club of Barbican, Dane McLean; and Lieutenant Governor, Pam Rodney-Whyte, during the Club’s fourth anniversary meeting at the Guardian Life head office in New Kingston, on January 22.