The head of an organization designed to steer young people away from substance abuse and behavioural disorders has urged more of corporate Barbados to invest in them before it is too late.
Drug Education And Counselling Services (DECS) chairman Pastor Roger Husbands made this call recently after meeting with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank at Rendezvous, Christ Church, where he received a multimedia projector for use in remedial and Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) classes offered by his organization.
Expressing appreciation to CIBC FirstCaribbean for its contribution, Husbands stated: “I want to thank the bank on behalf of the DECS for graciously accepting to help fulfil one of the needs within the programme by providing a projector. It will really enhance classes for the young people enrolled.”
Donna Wellington, the bank’s managing director for its Barbados and OECS operations, heralded the DECS for its continued work with young people.
“We’re committed to the development of our youth, especially those in great need who with care, love and motivation can chart a more promising future for themselves and their families.”
Husbands said he wished more of corporate Barbados would support future generation.
“I encourage them to get on board and help our young people. If we don’t invest in them, then whatever we would have worked so hard for will crumble.”
The DECS chairman noted that since the beginning of the year an average of four to five clients had been referred to the organization from entities such as the Probation Department, the Edna Nicholls School, and through the court system. This is an increase over last year in which the DECS saw about two referrals each week.
“These agencies recognize that our services, such as anger management and substance abuse counselling, are available and working as opposed to incarcerating the youth. Our programmes are helping young people tremendously in their recovery,” Husbands noted.
Speaking about the significance of the bank’s contribution to the DECS, the chairman said: “The multimedia projector will be used for classes, in presentations we do in the community, as well as in our treatment programmes. People respond more to visuals which promote greater interaction.”
The organization’s CXC programme is held three days a week with mathematics and English being offered to ten students in each class. Since its start in 2010, some 43 students have attended classes, including those who first received remedial education. “Approximately 25 students have taken and passed CXC exams with Grades 1 and 2 in 2012 and 2013,” Husbands said.
“We realized that the students who were coming to us didn’t have any qualifications, and findings jobs was hard; so we started the programme to give them a second chance, so they could become qualified,” he added.
Husbands highlighted a former student who plans to open his own electrical company. When he went to the DECS, “he couldn’t read and write properly, but after much motivation he was able to achieve Grades 1 and 2 in maths and English. He went on to study electrical engineering at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and worked with a local company in Barbados. He’s about 22 years old now, but was 13 when he first came to us, and about 16 or 17 when he started the CXC classes”.