Addressing the issues of youth, crime and violence within our nation must begin with proactive solutions

File Photo: Constable Percival addressing students

ZIZ News…Nov 22, 2012 — Operation Future believes if we are truly going to address the issues of youth, crime and violence within our nation it must begin with proactive solutions that address the root cause as opposed to reactive solutions addressing the symptoms. As they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Our research shows the primary reasons youth get involved in the gang culture is seeking a sense of belonging, acceptance and recognition, and arising from this failure to feel like they belong or accepted or being recognized comes issues of self-esteem.

We have also observed that amongst many of our so called “at risk” youth there seems to be a substantial level of creativity. This extends into our prisons ask anyone who works in Her Majesty’s Prison and they will confirm the creative talents wasting away in HMP.

So the Operation Future has developed a program recognizing the creative talents of at risk youth engages them and gives them a positive place to belong, be accepted and gives them recognition. After all there is nothing inherently wrong with the gang culture as long as that culture promotes positivity.

We are very pleased to announce that shortly we will be opening “Operation Future’s Creative Youth Academy” at the St. Johnson Village Community Center. This program has been over 18 months in the planning and in the past two months members of Operation Future have transformed the West wing of the Community Center into a facility that includes a lounge/games room, classroom, counselling room, kitchen and most importantly an audio and video recording studio. This facility will be open daily to all youth under 18 years of age. It will be staffed by volunteers who will chaperon, assist with homework and test of standards and CXC preparation, will teach cooking and crafts and give instruction on audio and video recording techniques and music.

The heart of the program will be the Creative Youth Academy, a studio fully equipped for the production of music videos including musical instruments, professional hardware and software so youth can be trained in all aspects of video production.

The goal is simple, recognize the creativity of the youth, give them a means to exhibit this creativity, build a gang focused on positivity, raise self-esteem levels address the issues why youth are falling into the negative gang culture. By utilizing the youths attraction to audio and visual arts we can then engage them and provide life skills in other important areas such as anger management, addiction and family counselling.

We are tremendously excited about this program and believe it is unique in the Eastern Caribbean, we believe in being innovative and leaders in taking a proactive approach to the issues of youth, crime and violence. Youth, after all, are our most valuable resource.

There has been a substantial amount of resources necessary to bring this dream to reality, the project has been funded by Operation Future through our supporters and fund raising efforts, in addition from a grant received through Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, and recently we have benefited from additional funding from a grant received through the “Youth At Risk Program Under the Safety and Security Improvement Program” administrated by Ministry of Sustainable Development. Most importantly thanks have to be given to the people and businesses of St Kitts & Nevis who continue to show their support for Operation Future through their donations of labour and material. There is no way we could have accomplished this project without the assistance of the community.

We invite all to visit the facility and learn more about the program, we are also always looking for more volunteers who wish to positively impact the youth of our nation, please do not hesitate to call the President of Operation Future, P/C Lauston Percival at 668 – 0856

The following is a link to You Tube which takes you to a video showing more about Operation Future’s Creative Youth Academy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Wv4YC30jA

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