Youth development a priority for the ministry

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MAXIMIZING possible areas of cooperation was the focus of the meeting held recently between the Minister for Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, members of his team and key members of the Dance4Life group.
During a courtesy visit to Minister Griffith, the Dance4Life team, Shakira Emtage-Cave, Co-Director and Kayla Archer, Communications & Advocacy, shared some of their work in fostering the positive development of Barbadian youth in several domains.
Explaining the work provided by Dance4Life peer educators, Ms Emtage-Cave said: “The Dance4Life movement sees the spirit of dance as the perfect metaphor for feeling empowered in one’s body, finding individual expression, connecting and communing. with the others. Through our program, we educate and engage student participants to make positive, informed decisions about their lives and their futures.
Since 2009, Dance4life’s approach has generated the safe space needed to educate over 30,000
young Bajans.
The ministerial team, which included Yolande Howard, permanent secretary; Cleviston Hunte, Director of Youth Affairs; and Wanda Reid-Beckles, Public Relations/Liaison, discussed possible areas of cooperation.
Proposed projects included collaboration with government summer camps and a proposed collaboration for a youth summit to strengthen youth advocacy networks. Minister Griffith noted
that immediate collaboration could begin with the next national summer camp program and added that he was fully committed to supporting initiatives that provided positive opportunities for the development of young people in Barbados.
Dance4Life, which is funded by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, has been operating in Barbados for over 13 years. The group focuses on several areas of youth empowerment, including a comprehensive sex education curriculum implemented in secondary schools, teenage homes, and male and female units of government industrial schools (GIS).
Their work with the island’s most vulnerable young people also includes a reading remedial program at GIS, job workshops and targeted training through extensive summer programs.

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