Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 23, 2022 (SKNIS): Ten young men were officially welcomed into the Boys Mentorship Programme on Wednesday (November 23, 2022) as the programme was expanded to include the Verchilds High School.
The ten young men are between 12 to 16 years. They are Kaiem Liburd, Zion Caines, Wayne Lake, Tequan Duncan, Kajaun Collins and Amarie Hughes. Malique Wattley, Zemarie Lewis, Alvin Dasent and Lequan Percival are also mentees on the programme.
At an opening ceremony, Director of Gender Affairs, Virgil Jeffers, noted that Wednesday’s launch marked the establishment of the 4th Chapter of the Boys Mentorship Programme, which was piloted in the Charles E. Mills Secondary School in 2016. Basseterre High School joined in 2018, followed by Cayon High School in 2021.
“The programme provides opportunities for holistic development of adolescent males,” expressed Mr. Jeffers. “The programme offers training in life skills, technical skills, job attachment, community service, scholarship, and parental engagement attachment. A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourselves and helps to bring it out of you.”
Mario Phillip of the Department of Gender Affairs in Nevis commended all involved in this initiative. He noted that the mentorship programme is in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include calls for achieving gender equality, no poverty, and zero hunger.
“I am so pleased that the Boys Mentorship Programme … encapsulates those elements, starting with our children and having each individual playing their part to reach another,” Mr. Phillip stated.
In giving remarks at the opening, Hon. Isalean Phillip, Junior Minister responsible for Social Development Gender Affairs, highlighted the value of men having meaningful positive relationships with other males.
“It is a fact that with strong and healthy positive male friendships, men and boys can actually have a lower risk of depression, suicide, dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, substance use and gang membership,” she indicated.
The Minister thanked the males who volunteered to be mentors and encouraged them to be proactive in keeping close contact with the assigned young men. The adolescents were also encouraged to be respectful and embrace the many benefits that accompany this programme.