The Sandals Foundation and the Social Development Commission (SDC) have joined hands with the VPA to launch the 'Steer Town: Building Community Peace and Wellbeing Through Positive Youth Engagement and Youth and Economic Empowerment Project in St. Ann.
Jonelle Llewellyn, Research Associate at the VPA said that this initiative marks a milestone in community-driven efforts and approaches towards violence prevention.
“International Peace Day in September saw the inauguration of the Peace Garden at Chalky Hill Primary School, symbolizing a commitment to conflict resolution and community solidarity,” she said.
Miss Llewellyn disclosed that the Modified Child Resiliency Programme is another central element of the initiative, which focuses on the emotional and social development of the youth. “A critical step in this direction was the training of 12 resource members of staff from both Steer Town and Chalky Hill Primary Schools, who participated in an extensive workshop centered on Peace, Resiliency, and Wellness Training,” she informed.
The VPA research associate added that the project encompasses an after-school programme that has activities including cultural, artistic, literacy, sports, and counseling sessions. She said the programme is designed to promote a holistic developmental environment for 10 children, encouraging growth in various life aspects.
To enhance this initiative, the SDC has committed its support, especially in the aspect of youth empowerment.
“The SDC's role is pivotal in identifying individuals suitable for job readiness programmes, with a particular emphasis on the hospitality sector,” she explained.
Miss Llewellyn said that this collaborative effort is geared towards equipping participants with the necessary skills and documentation, thus facilitating access to broader opportunities and fostering long-term community development