CSJP Supports New Programme to Assist At-Risk Youth
The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III has thrown its support behind an innovative new programme being piloted in the August Town community in St. Andrew that focuses on using sporting tools and techniques to mentor at-risk youth.
The initiative, dubbed project GOLD (Guidance, Opportunities and Lessons for Development), kicked off on Saturday, April 7. It uses sports for development methodology and techniques from cricket, football, netball and track and field to engage a selection of youth from the community.
In addition to financial support, which covers training material, stationery, gears and promotional items to be used in the workshops, the CSJP III is also providing its expertise in a number of critical areas to Project GOLD.
This includes guidance through its community case management team, social marketing team, psychological services unit, and its monitoring and evaluation team, which will provide support in assessing the impact of the pilot and determine how it can be improved for a full roll-out in other communities.
Communications and Social Marketing Coordinator with CSJP III, Patrice Nephew, addressing Project GOLD’s recent launch ceremony, hailed the initiative as well-needed and gave kudos to the athletes who have “committed to going the extra mile” in supporting the programme.
“Project GOLD is in line with the CSJP mandate and will contribute positively to the resocialisation of at-risk youth. We also see where it is an opportunity to build community governance,” Mrs. Nephew said.
She noted that CSJP III has administered similar programmes, such as its Goals for Life initiative, which she said has been successful in breaking down social barriers in vulnerable communities.
“So, we know that sport is a real tool that [empowers] persons and gives opportunities… . We are optimistic that Project GOLD will have a positive bearing on the values and attitudes of the project beneficiaries [as well],” she added.
Project GOLD is the brainchild of former national netball captain, Simone Forbes, who has collaborated with track and field star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; cricketer, Chris Gayle; and former national football player, Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, to implement the project.
Project GOLD will help participants, who are between 11 and 17 years, to set goals and learn how to commit to them. It will also provide family life and parenting skills, and entrepreneurship training for at least 15 parents and caregivers of the participants.
Mrs. Nephew said CSJP III is looking to have further collaboration with the athletes to engage youngsters in other CSJP programmes, particularly those aimed at honing life skills.
The CSJP III is a multifaceted crime and violence prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security. The programme provides crime and violence prevention services to 50 vulnerable and volatile communities, spanning eight parishes.
The programme is funded by the Government of Jamaica, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD); and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (DFID).