Shortly before taking their summer break this year, hundreds of high school students learned about the consequences of making bad life choices during Youth Crime Prevention Day.
The students heard testimonials from recovering drug addicts and presentations from police officers, prison service workers and social workers.
Instead of going to their regular classes on June 28, more than 200 Year 10 students from John Gray High School went to the Family Life Centre to attend workshops on the causes and consequences of crime and how to make positive decisions.
More than 160 Clifton Hunter High School students earlier took part in a similar event on June 24.
The events were organized by the Youth Anti-Crime Trust (Youth ACT), a nonprofit organization which addresses antisocial behavior and aims to reduce the root causes of youth crime.
“I hope that by educating students on the causes, consequences and penalties of crime, they receive empowering information on crime-awareness and prevention,” Youth ACT chairwoman Bonnie Anglin said in a press release. “This will enable them to make positive decisions in their life choices.”
During Youth Crime Prevention Day, students attended workshops which addressed subjects such as burglary, theft, carrying offensive or prohibited weapons, and the negative effects of drug and alcohol abuse, and bullying.
During one of the workshops, students discussed the findings of the Report on the Youth Health and Sexuality Survey conducted by the Pan American Health Organization in 2013, which highlighted the challenges children may encounter as they grow into young adults.
Some of those challenges include teenage pregnancy, gangs, entitlement, disruptions in access to education, and lack of respect for adults and authority.
Youth ACT organized the day in collaboration with the ministries responsible for education, community affairs and home affairs, and through the support and time of volunteers from Her Majesty’s Prison Service, the RCIPS, Department of Education Services, the Family Resource Centre and the Hope For Today Foundation.
The event was established in 2013, originally targeting Year 8 students. Since then, more than 2,000 Year 8 students from public high schools in Cayman have participated in the program.
Ms. Anglin said Youth ACT plans to introduce the program to students in Years 5 and 6 in the future.