DEPARTMENT OF GENDER AFFAIRS CONDUCTS PSYCHO-SOCIAL ASSESSMENT ON BOYS IN THE MENTORSHIP PROGRAMME

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 13, 2016 (SKNIS): The Department of Gender Affairs in collaboration with the Charles E. Mills Secondary School (CEMS) is conducting a psycho-social assessment on the 12 boys between the ages of 12 and 17, currently enrolled in the Department’s Boys Mentorship Programme so that they can be properly attached to respective mentors.

The Boys Mentorship Programme was launched in July 2016, and 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.

Dion Browne, Gender Field Officer in the Department of Gender Affairs, said that the psycho-social assessment includes the boys family history, living conditions, family social integration, education, health history, and emotional and behavioural development.

“After the psycho-social assessment, a training will be held for the mentors to sensitize them on the structure of the programme,” said the Gender Field Officer. “The rules and regulations of the programme, expectations, and also the training, will give mentors a chance to give recommendations to the Department of Gender Affairs and the Boys Mentorship Programme,” he said.

William Hodge, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, recently joined the list of mentors. He expressed his interest in making a difference in the boys’ lives.

“I became interested in the fact that the boys in the mentorship programme are from the Charles E. Mills Secondary School,” said Mr. Hodge, past principal of CEMS. “And so you would understand the type of enthusiasm that I would want to share in this activity. “I think the Boys Mentorship Programme is a step in the right direction. I think that I have the expertise that I can bring to the mentoring programme in terms of motivational skills and certain subject areas. I will be able to assist them with their academic work and just pass on some good old traditional and moral values.”

Mr. Hodge said that more mentorship programmes need to be introduced in the Federation.

“We have to encourage more mentorship programmes,” he said, while reflecting on his time abroad. “There is a programme called “Mentoring Monday” that comes on, on radio and television in Maryland [United States] and I actually shared this with the officer in the Gender Affairs Department who is working with the programme [in St. Kitts] that we can go on the radio and do what we call a mentoring Monday, encouraging other persons to become mentors and to let the public know what is happening with this particular programme.”

He stated that a mentorship programme does not have to be about boys only, as there are also girls who needs mentoring, and noted that although there is a certain amount of mentoring that is done for girls, it can be strengthened. Mr. Hodge said that a mentoring programme of any sort would be very useful to youngsters, especially at school age.

An advisory committee has been appointed for the Boys Mentorship Programme and is currently having meetings to formulate By-laws for the programme.

The boys in life and social skills training took place from July 11-22. There were over thirty (30) sessions including discipline and self-awareness, career development, self-esteem and stress management, anger management, and leadership. In August, the boys were successfully trained in small appliances repairs and auto mechanic, as part of the Technical Skills and Job Attachment element, which was aimed at providing training for boys at risk, in non-traditional and traditional skills. A mentor and mentee training and attachment was also held in August.

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