As part of its outreach program, members of the Public Service Day committee on Friday April 13, 2012 were engaged in a special day camp activity involving students of the Operation Youth Quake.
The Operation Youth Quake, currently home to eleven children, for the past eighteen years has been providing day-care and short-term residential care, to young children who are abused, deprived, neglected or in some form of crisis.
The day camp initiative provided an ideal setting for public officers to interact with the children and spend quality time with them.
Carrie Baron, Human Resource Officer and the Establishment Personnel and Training department and Committee member of Public service day outreach committee said: “Today we are organizing a day camp at the Operation Youth Quake where we are going to spend a day with residents and engage them in several activities. We will talk with them and we will be also sharing with their household activities. We will be having games, we will be watching a movie and we brought a meal to share with them”.
Baron said the day camp is one of several outreach activities planned by the Public Service Day Committee leading up to Public Service Day to be celebrated in December 2012.
“Basically this forms part of our public service day of activities which will culminate in December with the Public Service Awards and Recognition Ceremony. It’s one activity of many. We plan to have activities with some of the pre-schools, the, “Grange” elderly home in Portsmouth and also the” House of Hope” in Delices. We believe this is an ideal way of giving back to society. We are public officers, we work every day at our desk but we can do more, so we see that as our social responsibility to give back to the vulnerable groups within our society.”
Most children at the Operation Youth Quake having come from broken homes struggle with self esteem problems. Leslie Ann Waldron spoke to the young boys and girls about the importance of building self confidence and taking charge of their future.
“I started speaking to the students this morning with a short quote from reigning Calypso Monarch, Dennision DICE Joseph’s song, “when I see them I know this could have been me.” I tried to get them to identify situations where they thought that their environments determined their future. I shared with them the fact that we could all come from situations or surroundings where people who lived in the same conditions ended up using drugs or became victims of teenage pregnancy. I emphasized to them that we can determine what happens to us in the future if we only make the right choice”.
Waldron said the feedback from the students was encouraging.
“From all the students here I got very positive feedback. They all believe that they too can go out and make their own choices and decisions and determine where they reach”.
Lester Guye, a Mental Health Nurse also had an opportunity to speak to the young people. He spoke to them about their dreams.
“It’s interesting that in centers like these you will find that young people have dreams but they find it difficult to have these dreams materialize. I encouraged them to think about their dreams and set goals for themselves. I told them that having a dream is one thing but trying to get there is another. I encouraged them to have a little motivation, to mingle with people with the same talent and try to get them to give you a push forward”.
Elisha Joseph from Canefield, a participant of the Operation Youth quake has big dreams for himself. He wants to become a great footballer one day. He said he is grateful for the special moments spent with the public officers and is optimistic that good things are in store for him.
“I am special, one of my dreams is to become the greatest footballer ever and I know I am special in all ways. I feel uplifted and I feel happy that there are some people who care for me.”
In addition to attending formal school programs, beneficiaries of the Operation Youth Quake are taught life lessons, home and social skills including cooking, baking, agriculture and animal husbandry.
The Operation Youth Quake also provides individual and group counseling and recreation in a safe, secure and caring environment.