Concerns aired about NS youths

Joey Ebanks and a handful of parents along with educators and North Side residents are concerned about the district’s youth.

What’s at the top of their list of concerns is the high percentage of high school dropouts.

The North Side Youth Team has ideas about how to stem the level of high school dropouts – learning centres, online programmes, technical training and GED programmes – but the team has to have the community behind it to be successful.

A favoured way to keep students on track is by providing mentors through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters programme.

‘We pair mentors with young people one hour a week at school,’ Mr. Ebanks said. ‘One hour a week can change a child’s life. There has to be motivation for a child to want more.’

But again, the residents of North Side will have to rally to make sure any programme designed to stop high school dropouts works.

Mr. Ebanks met with parents, educators, students and residents at the North Side Civic Centre Saturday at a Focus on Youth Night to fill them in on what the Youth Team is focusing on and facing.

Also on hand was Education Council Secretary Jennifer Smith who is pushing the Government scholarship programme.

‘We’ve got to move away form the thought that scholarships are hard to reach,’ she said. ‘The scholarship programme is very alive and well. This Government is very committed to training and development.’

She described the scholarship programme as generous.

‘There’s something there for everybody,’ she said.

The programme is so generous that there is no excuse for any student not to go on and get a higher education.

‘You need to go further. You need to get something more than a high school education,’ she said.

She prodded parents at the meeting to push their children to take up scholarship offers.

Making sure all Caymanian students receive higher education is important to the country, she said.

‘You need to reach out and get the information you need and contribute to Cayman society,’ she said. ‘The opportunities are there. We need the skilled Caymanians.’

Those who want to find out more about scholarships on offer can get in touch with Mrs. Smith at [email protected]

North Side residents were urged to give just one hour a week to help mentor students through the Bigs programme of which Mr. Ebanks is a member and leader.

His company, CUC, was the main forerunner in the Bigs adopt-a-school programme.

Bigs organisers want to start a similar programme in North Side, but needs volunteers – especially men.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands serves children throughout Grand Cayman, by providing mentors to those in need of extra time and attention from a caring adult friend, states the group’s website.

Together with individuals and local leading companies BBBS is impacting Grand Cayman by providing one-on-one mentoring relationships to ensure children grow into caring, competent, confident members of the community.

No special skills are required to become a mentor.

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters or to sign up as a mentor in the Cayman Islands go www.bbbscay.org.ky

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