CSJP Utilises Dominoes for Life Concept to Reach At-Risk Youth

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Participants of the Dominoes for Life Concept, competes in a cut-throat domino tournament

PHOTO:Participants of the Dominoes for Life Concept, competes in a cut-throat domino tournament.

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(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)

The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP)has employed the Dominoes for Life Concept (DFLC) to teach life skills to at-risk youth benefitting from its vocational programmes.

The CSJP has been partnering with the National Tool and Engineering Institute (NTEI),to train and equip young people from vulnerable and volatile communities in computer, air condition and refrigeration repairs, electrical and mechanical maintenance and welding.

As part of that vocational training, youths in the programme are also exposed to life and coping skills sessions, utilizing the DFLC, which allows participants to appropriately address varying issues that may arise in their personal lives or on the job.

Under the initiative, the students are taught the basic rules of the game of domino, and are given the chance to express themselves openly, according to the hand of dominoes that is drawn.

“We look at the whole idea of shuffling, and drawing a hand, and we twin that with self, because a lot of the students were on the streets before they were given this opportunity, so it is like repositioning their lives,” says CSJP Community Action Officer, Marcia Flynn.

“Sometimes you get a hand of dominoes, and you just look at it as a losing hand, but the way how you play it, you might just end up being the winner. On the other hand, you might get a winning hand, which is a lot of opportunities, but then you end up being the loser, because of how you played the hand drawn. During the game, sometimes there might be a block, the same can be related to life, where there is a barrier, preventing you from moving forward. When this happens, the students are expected to explain how best they can overcome the block,” she explains.

Ann-Marie Haye, who is learning mechanical maintenance, tells JIS News that she is grateful that CSJP has given her a second chance at life, as she is being taught a marketable skill.

She says that the DFLC is a great initiative, because it helps her to reposition her life, and set meaningful objectives towards achieving a brighter future.

“I appreciate the DFLC because it helps me to look at life in a more serious manner, and think more positively. I apply the lessons being taught to my life, and if I experience a block in my life, I can pick up the pieces and move on. I now feel confident to consult my mother, a friend, or one of my instructors to provide guidance if something is affecting me, because I now have a goal that I am aiming to achieve,” she states.

Carlington Pryce, another course participant, says the DFLC allows him to analyze life more positively.

“In playing dominoes, when you get a pass in the game, it can be looked at as a barrier or an obstacle in life. It is something that you can learn from, because sometimes when everything is going well for you, like when you get a good hand of dominoes, you don’t make much of it, and you end up being the loser.  My life is full of barriers, and there are times when I set out to achieve something, and there is a blockage, so what the domino game has taught me is to move ahead, regardless of the blockage,” he tells JIS News.

“I can now encourage my fellow peers to do something positive with their life, despite their circumstances,” he adds.

The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention initiative, focusing on building community safety, security and reducing poverty. The programme currently provides services to 50 volatile and vulnerable communities across eight parishes.

Since the partnership between CSJP and NTEI, a total of 130 youth have been trained and certified, some are now self-employed, while others are employed in reputable organisations island-wide.