(SKNIS): A Boys Mentorship Programme is a new initiative of the Department of Gender Affairs, which was launched on Thursday, July 21, at a ceremony held at the Customs and Excise Conference Room.
The Programme is starting with 10 boys between the ages of 12 and 17, who attend the Charles E. Mills Secondary School (CEMSS) in Sandy Point.
Dion Browne, Gender Field Officer in the Department of Gender Affairs, gave an overview of the programme.
“The mentorship programme is aimed at providing adolescent males with opportunities for adventure, self-discovery, cultural exchange, leadership building, developing traditional and non-traditional skills and service through training,” said Mr. Browne. “The programme is put forward as a transformation programme that will incorporate the needs of adolescent boys. The programme also aims to provide opportunities for the holistic development of adolescent males, including sharpening our learning skills, encouraging personal growth and developing relationships.”
The Gender Field Officer said that the aim also includes building self-esteem, resilience, confidence and self-reliance, while at the same time finding new ways for the boys to express themselves and have fun.
The Honourable Wendy Phipps, Minister of Gender Affairs, gave the boys some words of encouragement. She pointed out a few issues that would be extremely important to address in order to make the programme work.
“Some of the things that I think will have to be implemented to the success of the mentorship programme are things like trust,” said Minister Phipps, while adding that there must be trust between both the mentor and the mentee. “The second thing is respect. You can’t have a mentorship programme where respect is absent, and that cuts both ways. To get respect, you have to give respect. The other issue is humility for both sides. Young people, you have to be humble enough to acknowledge that you have challenges but nonetheless somebody is here to help you, and you open up yourself enough to understand; look, I need help, show me where I would be going wrong. And humility, on the side of the mentor, that this is your opportunity to invest good things in the life of a young person.”
The Minister outlined other issues such as grace, teachability, love and openness to change.
Minister Phipps said a number of desired outcomes are expected from the programme.
“At the end of the day, the desired outcome we would want from a programme of this nature are for men and boys in St. Kitts and Nevis to take their rightful place in the development of this country,” said the Minister of Gender Affairs, while noting that the programme is geared towards empowering them to become good fathers, big brothers, role models and good husbands. “We want stronger families [and] that can’t happen without strong males, strong husbands and strong fathers.”
She further noted that a programme of such nature should facilitate the boys into growing into the God-given potential that is present within them and added that bolstering the family structure would be a crucial element in ensuring this.
Several sponsors have committed to assist with the mentoring of the boys. These include Gold Sponsor Rams Trading Limited and Silver Sponsor the St. Kitts and Nevis-Anguilla National Bank. Other sponsors include Nagicor Insurances, Island Auto Supplies, Hobson Enterprises, Delisle Walwyn, Sky Safari and Kantours.