Grooming them for the future

─ social skills pilot project completed at the Leonora Secondary

─ forty facilitators trained to work with children

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, August 10, 2019

More than 100 children between the ages of 3 and 12 were on Friday afternoon in high spirits as they completed a three-day workshop to better shape them emotionally, socially and academically.

The pilot project came to life through a collaboration between the Ministry of Social Protection, Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) and the Guyanese United to Serve our Youth (GUTSY) – an overseas-based group founded by Guyanese living in the diaspora.

The children worked with several facilitators who were selected from several organisations, such as, Sophia Youth Empowerment Group, the Islamic Academy, Josel Academy and the community of Meten-Meer-Zorg.

Educator attached to GUTSY, Dr. Desiree Heyliger, said that many of the children started the programme with no confidence and received the support to complete the exercise with high self-esteem.

“We taught them about respect, proper manners and morals. These children are our future and we are happy to see the willingness they showed us, this will definitely continue, we will return and give our service and it is important that the facilitators trained by GUTSY carry on this service to communities and learning Institutions,” Heyliger said.

She added that some of the parents commended the initiative and even lent their support through participation. With that, Heyliger highlighted, that there were small sessions on good parenting for those fathers and mothers who were actively involved with their children in the workshop.

President of GUTSY, Janice Hall said the plan is to now take the programme to other regions in the country.

“There will be many more exercises like this one, we will work to take our service all across the administrative regions with the continued support from the Ministry of Social Protection and the Childcare and Protection Agency, focusing on other societal issues that are affecting children, it is all about social and emotional skills needed to grow their potential,” Hall said.

Earlier in the week the Minister of Social Protection, Hon. Amna Ally had opened the two-day training session for the facilitators involved in this social skills pilot programme.

In her remarks, she noted that the country’s youths “need to be guided strategically to help them develop sound judgement and good habits for long term stability, wellness and success.” 

The Social Protection Minister reminded the facilitators that they are helping to determine the country’s future. She pointed to the rapid ongoing changes in society today and posited that is why there the need to provide the nation’s youths with the necessary mechanisms and systems to deal with the demands of life and to handle a variety of choices, changes and stressors.

At the closing event, the facilitators were also presented with certificates for their participation and service offered to the youths.

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