Some of the graduates

Some of the graduates

Twelve young persons have graduated from the Youth Development Division’s Life Skills Program.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the Roseau Youth Centre, on Friday, Chief Youth Development Officer, John Roach, described the program as a “second chance” for persons who underperformed academically, or for juveniles in need of rehabilitation.

“Really, the Life Skills Program is a second chance program that offers our young people who didn’t do too well academically at primary school or secondary school, and being given an opportunity,” he explained. “It is also a program that caters for young persons who’ve been in problems with the law, to be given an opportunity for rehabilitation, and to take a more positive course in life.”

He remarked that the program complements the much-touted OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project.

Minister for Information Technology, Kelver Darroux, who represented the Minister for Youth, Justina Charles, urged the Youth Development Division to collaborate with the government in implementing new programs, and adjusting existing programs to suit the times.

“We have to also look at the relevance of the program that we have, and how best we can implement some new program that will be fitting to the time that we are living in, as well as to make some adjustments to the existing ones, and see the relevance of the programs in our society… because the society that we live in now his highly technological,” Darroux said.

He encouraged the youth to maximize their talents, and take advantage of available opportunities.

Darroux expressed the government’s commitment to funding these programs, and making resources available to the division.

Meantime, Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency, Joseph Isaac, called for Dominicans to “re-evaluate our priorities in this country,” and put the youth first.

He made a number of recommendations to the government and Youth Development Division, including the creation of sports scholarships, to “identify talent in our young people,” the renovation and modernization of youth centres across the island, and the introduction of a state-of-the-art music and cultural training centre.

Isaac also asked that curriculum be altered for primary and secondary schools, to include “dance, music, and the Creole language.”

He advised graduands to remain focused and keep striving for their goals.

“You have to keep on striving for honour, and for your goals… I am asking you to take yourselves seriously. Don’t underestimate your ability…” he said. “You have to discern good advice and good influence from bad influence.”

The graduands will be placed on job attachments according to their skills and abilities.