In celebration of the International Day of Families, the Princess Royal Hostel in Belize District held a rebranding ceremony on Sunday, May 15. This ceremony officially saw the center change its name to “New Beginnings Youth Development Center”. Changing the name of the establishment is symbolic of the fundamental changes that have been made for the protection and rehabilitation of children. Love News attended the launch event and journalist Giovanna Moguel told the story.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The New Beginnings Youth Development Center, formerly the Princess Royal Youth Hostel, symbolizes a new beginning for the institution as well as for the residents. For many years the hostel has had a dark cloud hanging over it due to its reputation as a place where vulnerable children are locked up. New Beginnings Youth Development Center Program Coordinator Annie Palacio explains what this means for residents.
Anne Palacio: Program Coordinator. Dev. Center: The kids put it all together. They had the name for it. They knew what they wanted and it was a collaboration with them and us, the management and the children, to ask to know, what do you want for yourself? How can we make your life better? How can we improve your future and they tell us and we grant their wishes.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The Ministry of Human Development and Family, through its communication with the Women’s Department, made this symbolic change as part of its change in community attitude towards the facility. Last year, the ministry repealed the Licensed Institutions Act, which focused on punitive measures against at-risk youths, and instituted residential care facilities. Minister of Human Development and Families Dolores Balderamos-Garcia explained in more detail.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development, Family and Indigenous Affairs. “We don’t want that stigma of oh they have to send you back to a hostel. We don’t want this to continue so instead of a certified institution where you signify the children have gone bad, a residential care facility is where you can give the children an opportunity for change. We will no longer call it Princess Royal Youth Hostel. Let’s go. It’s dead and buried now. So our New Beginnings Youth Development Center will shift that stigma and signal, signify with symbolism that we have made this very positive change.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Palacio emphasized that the renovation of the facility will allow residents to develop skills that will help them become productive and self-reliant citizens.
Anne Palacio: Program Coordinator. Dev. Center: “In fact, these children grow their own vegetables and we use them to feed them from the kitchen. They have cattle. They raise chickens. They raise pigs and they do it themselves. They take care of these things. They take care of animals, vegetables and it helps them to understand what responsibility is. All they want is support. That’s all these kids need and we notice that as long as they get it, they shine.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Gone are the days of colonial practices where children were locked up in correctional facilities for their questionable behavior as Belize moves towards creating a nurturing environment where they can thrive. Reporting for Love News, I’m Giovanna Moguel.