Students Benefit From CSJP Summer Programme

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Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) Communications Co-ordinator Patrice Tomlinson-Nephew engages (L-R) Shaneka Riley, graduate of Penwood High School; Tiffany McFarlane of Pembrooke Hall High School; Neisha Rose of Denham Town High School ;and Shemeka Ennis of the Young Women’s Christian Association in a team building exercise at the CSJP Summer Diversion Programme held at Dunrobin Primary School on Thursday August 21.

PHOTO: Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) Communications Co-ordinator Patrice Tomlinson-Nephew engages (L-R) Shaneka Riley, graduate of Penwood High School; Tiffany McFarlane of Pembrooke Hall High School; Neisha Rose of Denham Town High School ;and Shemeka Ennis of the Young Women’s Christian Association in a team building exercise at the CSJP Summer Diversion Programme held at Dunrobin Primary School on Thursday August 21.

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(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)

While many students were at home engaged in various leisure activities during the summer break, more than 30 students from inner-city communities participated in the Citizens Security and Justice Programme’s (CSJP) Summer Diversion Programme, in preparation for the new school year.

The initiative, which is being introduced for the first time, ran from August 18 to 22, engaging students in fourth and fifth forms who have demonstrated antisocial behaviours at school. It introduced them to concepts such as ‘Understanding Self’, ‘Managing Anger and Conflict’, and ‘Team Building’ among others.

“CSJP is about violence prevention and social intervention. There are many things that can be done on the social front that can contribute to violence prevention and other negative activities that youngster are sometimes engaged in, especially during the summer and that is what our programme seeks to address,” Senior Coordinator at the CSJP, Orville Simmonds tells JIS News. Mr. Simmonds reveals that CSJP has been working closely with guidance counsellors and deans of disciplines in some schools who refer students to the programme.

“During this one week programme, we trust that we have helped these students to deal with some of the issues that contribute to their poor behaviour. We hope that at the end of this one week, they would have learned enough so that when they return to school they will be on a path of improved behaviour. We will be following up with them over a period of six months to track if there is any behaviour change,” Mr Simmonds says.

He also highlighted that the programme will be conducting parenting workshops with the parents of the participants over six months.

Mr Simmonds tells JIS News that the programme is not only about behavioural change but that upon completion the CSJP will be providing the participants with a stipend to cushion some of the costs associated with back to school.

“Going back to school requires resources and we work in volatile and poor communities where parents are challenged to find school fee and books… our programme recognises that as well,” he explains. He indicates that the CSJP intends to continue the programme next summer, on a larger scale.

“The participants are grateful for the programme, they are learning, socialising in a new environment and importantly they are making friends,” he shares.

A former student of Edith Darlton James High School, who will be advancing to sixth form, Avia Mills, says that through the programme she has learnt about team building; the importance of working together; and how to cooperate for a better outcome.

“The programme was very productive. I was reminded that in life there are going to be challenges and this programme along with other life experiences exist to equip us in going forward,” she says, adding, “thanks to CSJP for this programme. I have benefitted and I am encouraging them to keep on doing it because it is a good medium to reach out to students, especially from inner-City communities and help them keep out of trouble”. Another student, Tyrell Chin of Penwood High School says he has learned about the various ways to avoid drugs, crime, and gangs.

“The messages presented to us by the group, Men with a Message, were sometimes funny but real and I will share these messages with my friends in my community,” he says.

Also sharing his experience with the group of students was Men with a Message member, Lyndel Champagnie.

“They (the students) were eager to learn and had many questions. I shared portions of my life story with them, this captivated the students and I am sure after hearing my presentation none of them want to commit crimes or be engaged in any illegal activity. Regardless of their reason for being here and I am happy that I could share with them,” he says.