Children and Families complete Training in San Ignacio Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 January 2018 00:00

Twenty-five children and their six families hailing from the Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena have completed the first cycle of GREAT Families, a sub-component of the Youth Resilience and Inclusive Social Empowerment or Rise Project.  Both children and families were handed certificates of completion at the San Ignacio Police Station on Friday by Richard Rosado, Officer Commanding of the San Ignacio Police Formation in the presence of Gerald Jones, Assistant Commissioner of Police

GREAT Families program is a scale-up of the youth and community YCT project that has been implemented for at risk communities in both San Ignacio and Santa Elena as well as in Dangriga. The project is being empowered by the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation with a 1.7 Million US dollar funding from the Caribbean Development Bank CDB and a counterpart $633,000.00 US from the Government of Belize.

“Communities in these Districts are challenged by increasing crime and violence and anti-social behavior and limited access to social services.  The Youth Rise Project aims to address these issues by supporting the expansion of and access to existing social services as well as the development and implementation of new services, as well as reduce social exclusion among youths and families in target communities,”  says Cherese Reynolds Ferguson, Youth and Community Transformation Project Coordinator,  who also spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation.

GREAT Focal Point Officer and Inspector of Police Elroy Carcamo was present on Friday where he expressed that “it is great to see  that the families component has kicked off here in the Western part of the Country,  especially in San Ignacio,  it shows the commitment from our officers and the Commander.”  He congratulated the graduates, also saying, “Now, you have joined a body of over 15,000, who have participated in the GREAT program here in Belize.”

GREAT or the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program is a gang and violence prevention program that was developed by the United States National Gang Center, and ensued in Belize with the training of facilitators primarily police officers, which was done under the Central American Regional Security Initiative CARSI.

As explained by GREAT instructor Corporal Jason Jones, from the Community Policing Unit, during the last six weeks, both children and their families learned about being able to work as a family, how to improve family relations, GREAT communications, rules and discipline, bullying, and challenges in the electronic age. Jones told The Guardian that there will be an additional three GREAT Families programs in San Ignacio this year and for the next three years.

Through the partnership of the YCT Project, Community Policing has been able to conduct three cycles of GREAT Families in Belize City and will commence a fourth cycle on Wednesday of this week. The first GREAT Families was implemented in Belize City under the YCT Project in January 2016.

As we were able to observe in Cayo last week, Community Policing within the Belize Police Department has partnered with the Ministry of Human Development to carry out an educational program for children and their families in at risk communities. This is being carried out with the assistance of the United State Embassy under their GREAT Program, fuelled by CARSI, and the CDB.