Persons Trained to Mentor Children in Care of DCS

Jamaica News: Approximately 45 persons were educated about the various aspects of mentorship at the first We Transform Mentorship Training session earlier this month, held at the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Training Room, in Kingston.

The We Transform Programme is the Ministry of National Security’s flagship youth transformation programme that aims to equip children within the care of the DCS with the skills and support necessary to become productive citizens of society.

Mentors were guided about methods to engage youth, their roles and responsibilities and the maintenance of their relationship with their mentee. They were also trained how to share strategies of self-development, career development and conflict management with mentees.

We Transform Programme Manager, Ella Ghartey, said the first training session was received well by the mentors.

“The training session was a success as the mentors were trained in the different aspects of mental, emotional and social development and they were very interested in their upcoming role, as they constantly quizzed the presenters on all topics,” she noted.

According to Ms. Ghartey, the group trained is diverse, which will prove critical to the success of the mentorship programme.

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“It is important to note that we have a unique group of mentors, because we have mentees from diverse backgrounds, so we need mentors that will match their needs. We also ensured we had a diverse group because we want the opportunities that can be accessed through this mentorship programme to be diverse,” she explained.

Research fellow at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Dacia Leslie, said she is excited about her journey as a mentor, as it gives her an opportunity to actualise the theories she has researched regarding youth offenders.

“My area of research is in Offender Management, and I have been doing work on finding ways to help ex-offenders lead crime-free lives when they exit the justice system. In the continuous engagement with the Correctional Services for research purposes, I have learnt it takes one caring adult to transform a life, so I am happy to play my part,” she added.

According to Dr. Leslie, mentorship can be critical in changing the lives of youth.

“Based on research, we know that mentees are involved in less deviance, less substance abuse, less aggression and are more likely to excel academically. I believe with the mentors as cheerleaders and advocates and problem-solvers, we can help them to plan their future,” she said.

Probation Officer with the DCS, Kerry-Ann Davis, said the session encouraged persons to develop a mentorship relationship with youth who may be heading down a negative path “As Probation Officers, we learn about their family life and the likelihood of rehabilitation because of their support system and we see where a lot of them don’t have positive influences at home, which results in recidivism. We celebrate a programme such as this, as it gives them an opportunity to meet persons who will be a positive force in their lives, therefore giving them a chance in life,” Mrs. Davis said.

The training sessions, which are held in collaboration with the HEART Trust/ NTA, will continue in 2019.


Source: JIS News

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