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Protecting futures

MP Mara Thompson presenting certificate.

Fourteen children from communities in St. John and St. Philip are now better able to say no to drugs.

On Saturday, they and the eight parents who participated in the Children Are People Support Group programme, were presented with certificates during a closing ceremony at St. Mark’s Church Hall, St. Philip.

The programme offers children within the five to 12 age range, an opportunity to learn skills in the area of coping with peer pressure and conflict, and the aim is to reach children before “they use, abuse, or decide to experiment with drugs, thus increasing the likelihood of their ability to make positive life choices information about HIV/AIDS and the myths”.

Chairman of the Youth Committee of the St. John Constituency Council, Damian Mascoll, who addressed the session, said it was imperative to protect children and called for a “commitment” to protect them and their future.

“There are many issues facing today’s young people, and especially our children, and the CAP programme through its well-designed format and structure would have covered some critical areas such as feelings and self-esteem, HIV/AIDS, chemical dependency and drug refusal skills, risks and choices, to name just a few.

“What must be commended are the parenting sessions which were built into the programme. Parental involvement is essential in bringing about and reinforcing positive attitude change and I salute both the organisers and the parents,” he said.

Mascoll said it was his “firm conviction that the constituency councils have a vital role to play in the continued development of Barbados”.

He added: “As the late Prime Minister and representative of St. John would have stated time and time again, Barbados is more than an economy — it’s a society. We must not only look at the nation’s economic growth but the development of a well-rounded people and nation.”

Parliamentary representative for St. John, Mara Thompson, thanked the organisers and the constituency council for supporting the event. She also congratulated the participants and their parents for making the programme a success.

The programme consisted of eight two-hour group sessions and some of them incorporated active play, songs, dance, stories, role play, art work, discussions, and educational exercises which are intended to stimulate a fun environment whilst providing a comprehensive learning experience for the children.

It was executed under the supervision of specially trained social workers and children’s group facilitators and parents/guardians of participants were required to attend four sessions specifically designed for them. (DS)

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