$100-m RESCUE

NCU launches social intervention programme

Monday, February 12, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Seventh-day Adventist Northern Caribbean University (NCU) here had the soft launch of a social intervention programme for youth during its chapel session on Thursday, February 1.

The initiative, called RESCUE2020 (Restoring Every Student's Confidence Using Education), is a three-year campaign.

Dr Michael Harvey, who is associate director for development and community partnerships at NCU and conceptaliser of RESCUE2020, said that on full implementation, it will cost approximately $114 million.

He told the Jamaica Observer Central that as the project is being done in the selected parishes and communities, starting with a pilot in Manchester, it is subtitled the 4D Youth Crew Initiative. The Ds mean “Decisive, Dedicated, Determined and Driven”, and the acronym CREW means “Confidants, Ready, Equipped and Willing” to work with and for young people.

Harvey said the pilot will cost $39.6 million, and he expects that it should get underway by about June this year.

He said that the idea behind the concept is to make the situation of unattached youth less hopeless.

“We are promoting and advocating for this positive community, comprehensive youth empowerment initiative that will arrest at the foundation and stem the challenge that we have. The goals and outcomes that we hope to accomplish from this is that we hope to see self-empowered people, a desire for holistic education, higher self-esteem among our youth, greater personal satisfaction, significant reduction in crime and violence, greater respect for individuals and property, greater community involvement and synergy,” Harvey told the audience of students and invited guests.

He said that 100 community empowerment centres will be established across Jamaica for training to take place in areas such as leadership, character and values education, listening and reasoning skills, social and relational skills, entrepreneurship, information technology, business process outsourcing, conflict management, parenting, and participants will get a chance to express themselves artistically and learn about civic pride.

The modalities for training will include lectures, videos, PowerPoint presentations, discussions, and role-plays.

Member of Parliament for Manchester Central and former Minister of National Security Peter Bunting lauded the programme, stating that the family is an important institution that should first instil values, but other bodies of socialisation, such as the church and school, can fill that gap where it falls short.

“Sometimes the deficits that are left from the family upbringing can be corrected or mitigated by the character building that takes place in our schools and in our educational institutions. As I listened and understand the RESCUE initiative, this is really stepping into that gap where, perhaps, family, social services, even some churches may have fallen down on the job in supporting young people; that this initiative is going to provide a safety net, so to speak, and bring them back into the mainstream as productive citizens in our society,” said Bunting.

Niu Qingbao, who is coming to the close of his tour of duty as Chinese ambassador to Jamaica, was guest speaker at the event, and said that although China has a lot of achievements to be proud of, it is still not a rich country, but is keen on helping other countries.

“We are not a rich country yet, [but] that does not prevent us from extending our hands,” he said.

Harvey told Observer Central that the Chinese ambassador, in showing support for the initiative, gave $169,000 to the cause prior to the event and made a commitment to lobby for more help.

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