In a concerted effort to address youth-related crime, the Community Development Unit within the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment late last year initiated the first phase of its Mentorship Programme, under the Crime and Violence Interruption Programme (CVIP).
The Mentorship Programme commenced November 2023 and aims to train approximately 150 mentors across Saint Lucia, who will be paired with youth counterparts aged 16 to 19.
One of the two primary objectives of this mentorship initiative include Guidance towards Positive Decision-Making. The mentorship programme seeks to guide young people in setting personal and professional goals and empowering them to help make informed and wise decisions. With a focus on the critical age range of 16 to 19, the aim is to support adolescents during their transition from school, ensuring they navigate this period with clarity and purpose.
The other main objective of the programme is Prevention of Delinquent Behavior. By engaging mentors as positive role models, the programme seeks to draw teenagers away from delinquent behavior. Through consistent interaction with mentors over a four-month period, participants will have the opportunity to build positive relationships thus reducing the likelihood of engaging in activities that contribute to delinquency.
Social Transformation Officers, Welfare Officers, Family Case Workers, and other community leaders, including leaders of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) are playing pivotal roles in identifying suitable mentors for the programme. Their expertise and community insight will ensure that mentors are well-matched with mentees, fostering a supportive environment for positive development.
The mentorship programme is scheduled to conclude in March 2024. The Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment remains committed to creating lasting impacts on the lives of the youth, through initiatives that promote personal growth, responsible decision-making, and the prevention of delinquent behavior.