A senior citizen has picked up the mantle to work with youngsters in the district of East End.
Elaine Rankin, 67 realizes there are too many young people walking up and down the streets and doing nothing; she figures if she can get some of them involved in some sort of activity it might keep them out of trouble, off the streets and teach them a few things in the process.
Along with granddaughters Briana Dixon and Obertha Bush, the team who calls themselves Youths in Action, Hands across East End set out to enlist the help of parents to get the project off the ground.
The club is geared for children ages 6 years and older.
Besides fun activities and outings, Ms Rankin said there are rules and regulations that the children will have to adhere. Parents are also asked to sign a form allowing their children to come and participate in the sessions.
The team has also decided kids will not be using cell phones, no cursing, chewing gum, fighting, no talking out of turn, raise hands to speak, keep hands and feet to themselves, respect each others’ space and wear full uniform during outings. “The white shirt signifies high ideals and the blue skirt or pants, signifies the sky is the limit,” said Ms Rankin.
With a motto to make their community better, youngsters will be asked to respect the pledge, which is geared to youth using their heads, having a humble heart, using their hands to work and living a clean life.
In the plans for the youth are educational tours of the districts, arts and crafts, visits to Catboat Club, the Turtle Farm, Botanic Gardens and Pedro St James Castle. The children will also be hearing from motivational speakers such as Pastor Felix Manzanares, Roy Bodden, Mary Lawrence and Arden McLean, to name a few.
Also on the agenda are activities such as Christmas carolling and plays, karaoke nights, visitations with senior s to sit and read and hear them talk about how they grew up. “I want our children to learn about their heritage and what their forefathers did in years gone by. It is very important that they know about their history and who better to give them that first-hand lecture but the persons who experienced it,” said Ms Rankin.
The team has not come to a complete agreement when the club will meet but are looking at Monday or Saturday night at 7pm at Countryside Church Hall on John McLean Drive. Presently the group meets near the home of Ms Rankin.
“I heard the teachers at the school are planning an after school programme for the children and some children do participate in track and field. I do not want ours to clash with what they are doing,” she said. “Later on when we are established we will probably have meetings on more than one occasion,” she said.
Thursday evening the group met with parents to discuss the possibility of hosting a breakfast to raise funds to get uniforms for the children so they will be recognised and acknowledged as part of the group when on outings.
Briana, 18, said it is a wonderful programme for the youths. “I had a wonderful experience during New Years dinner when I got the opportunity to speak with East End seniors and found they had some very interesting things to say. I have lots of patience when it comes to working with children so I do not mind working with them.”
Obertha, 19, also finds it to be a good programme. “Seniors helped me to find out things that went on back in the day and I find them useful today. I feel it will help keep children off the roads and keep them occupied.”
According to Ms Rankin parents were very corporative and supportive and said they would assist in any way they could. It was then decided that to keep a meeting to get the children interested.
Parent Gary Rankin, father of two kids ages 6 and 9 thinks it is a wonderful idea. “I hope not just Ms Elaine but everyone will come on board to see that the children take the right path in life. I think most of all the young people just need guidance.”