NIA Charlestown Nevis – A two-day training session—to be facilitated by Operation Future in collaboration with the Nevis Island Administration’s Department of Youth and Sports—is slated to be held at the Cotton Ground Community Centre next week in preparation for the official launch of Operation Future’s second Creative Youth Academy.
At a press conference on October 7, 2013, Coordinator of Youth Development at the Department of Youth and Sports Zahnela Claxton explained that in an effort to eradicate gang activity on the island, both organisations have collaborated to facilitate the training session which will run from from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 14 and 15.
Claxton outlined the purpose of hosting the two-day training sessions and extended an invitation to interested persons to sign up to volunteer at the Creative Youth Academy. Participants in the training sessions will be exposed to a variety of topics including “Gang Life: What is the Attraction?,” Youth, Crime, Violence and Gangs: Understanding the Problem” and “Strategies and Actions to Mitigate Gang Violence.”
“We would like to invite the general public, anybody who is interest in assisting as I said, in volunteering at the Creative Youth Academy in any way, maybe just to be there in the reading programme, to cook or teaching cooking lessons. We have sporting equipment, if you are somebody who is sports-minded or you’re interested in a particular sport and you want to volunteer your time there,” she said.
Also present at the press conference was member of Operation Future and facilitator for the training session Dan Mc Mullin, who gave a brief description of the Creative Youth Academy and outlined the expectations of the launch of the gang intervention initiative for the Nevisian community.
“The core of the Creative Youth Academy is an audio and video recording studio. We’ve equipped it with professional software and the goal, that will be the engagement tool. Once the youth are engaged then we can start introducing them to life skills and necessary skills that they are not receiving on the island.
“Our goal is to take that gang culture and steer it into a positive direction as opposed to a negative direction, give them what the youth are looking for, give them the sense of identity, the sense of accomplishment, the respect, the power and the sense of family, the sense of belonging in a positive environment and in due course eradicate the issue of a negative gang culture,” he said.
Operation Future’s first Creative Youth Academy is housed in the St. Johnson Village Community Centre on St. Kitts. The second Creative Youth Academy will be located in the building which previously housed the Cotton Ground Police Station. According to Mc Mullin, the long-term objective is to have the facility available 24/7.