Kudos to the eight Eagle House residents who have completed a course that has prepared them for the working world.
Many of the young men went into the 12-week course with the attitude that it was going to be a waste of time; that no one would ever hire them.
Over the course of the classes they have been convinced that although they may not receive the first job they interview for, they are now equipped with the tools and skills necessary to become employed and that eventually they will find the right job.
Eagle House officially opened last year as the Cayman Islands’ first rehabilitation centre for young offenders between the ages of 14 and 20.
When talk began of opening a rehab facility for young offenders, it was met with much criticism. Naysayers believed there would be repercussions and stigma about young people being housed next to Northward prison.
Today those naysayers have been proven wrong.
The idea, at the outset, was to build a successful programme that instilled pride in the younger elements of society who had made mistakes, to train them and motivate them to proper moral and ethical behaviour.
Each time a young person succeeds in gaining skills to empower them to become good productive members of society, there must be a business out there willing to take them on.
Many companies have stepped up to the plate, but more need to realise the importance of taking a chance on these young people and helping them get back into a productive society.
The continued success of Eagle House depends on the entire community. Support must come from everyone and the young people in the programme must constantly be lifted up and encouraged.
Parents are particularly urged to support their children who have found themselves in positions to be housed at Eagle House. They should visit regularly and let them know they are loved and valued.
To the eight young men who have been empowered to find and keep jobs, good luck. You may have to try a little harder because of the mistake you made, but keep your head high and know the right job is waiting for you.
To the staff, individuals and volunteers at Eagle House, kudos to you, too.