The Community Development Department has reported that its IT summer programme for teens has become so popular that at some centres they have to have two classes.
Additionally, Programme Coordinator Bridgette Marshall-Griffith said where there are no free computers at the centre, if parents allow willing participants to use their own laptops if they have, they try to accommodate students were possible.
She made the comments this afternoon as LIME handed over a cheque for close to $50,000, bringing that company’s support to the programme to more than $70,000.
“In addition to the centres we already use, we are thinking about adding Black Bess, in St. Peter, St. Elizabeth and Haggatt Hall because St. Michael usually has the biggest attendance, along with the eight we already use.”
At the end of the programme, Marshall-Griffith said there would be a video component where the participants, who are ages 14 to 18, would make a production on a chosen topic, usually HIV, bullying, drug awareness or some such as a final project.
“One of the things we do every year is use a component of the programme where students have to do a project on HIV/AIDS, drug awareness, bullying, it is their choice but we always add that component. This year it will be in the form of a video, and the students will have to develop a programme [on one of the topics]. That would be for a group project,” she said, adding that the individual projects were decided in collaboration with the tutors.
Chief Community Development Officer, Sandra Greenidge, said the programme was one which parents were always grateful for because it presented their children with constructive activity over the summer break, and as such the department was always brainstorming on ways to expand it to incorporate more students.
This year in addition to the three being considered, the programme will be held at resource centres including Speightstown, Bonnetts, Deacons, Grazettes, Rices, Weston, Greens, Briar Hall and St. Christopher.
The already expanded programme will accommodate 220, with at last three of the 12 centres — St. Christopher, Rices and Greens — having two classes each; but Greenidge said they had been in discussions with LIME to see how they could further expand, maintain a feasible budget and respond to demand.
LIME’s Vice President of Service Support and Delivery, Sharon Jemmott, minutes before handing over the sponsorship cheque noted that the company was delighted to be a part of the programme, explaining that they considered it as an important part of their commitment to community development in the island in general.
She threw out the challenge to others as well to create opportunities where young people could get involved in practical ways to use the skills they had or develop others, as well encouraging adults to become positive mentors for the youth.
LIME’s sponsorship will pay for the tutors within the programme, the closing ceremony and awards and other areas, it was stated, while Permanent Secretary Ernesta Drakes noted that there were 25 tutors associated with the programme that would also include educational instruction and tours for the students over a six-week period. (LB)