Sign Up to make a change!

From left: General Secretary of the National Youth Council Louise Victor, Prime Minister Stephenson King, Ambassador June Soomer and Permanent Secretary Donovan Williams.

According to a government pamphlet, “the rampant increase in crime and violence especially among youth and the growing irresponsibility trend of students to loiter after school hours are indicators that matters pertaining to the youth of this nation must be urgently and effectively addressed.  Many lament the dissipation from the public eye, of organizations such as the boy scouts, girl guides, cadets, brownies and others which have had significant impact on the lives and development of many citizens.  Youth involvement in church groups, choirs and general participation is on the decline and the spiritual fabric of society is therefore threatened.”
As such the government is taking the bull by the horn and has implemented a vigorous drive to “engage the youth of our nation in meaningful, up building activities through voluntary and service oriented organizations.”
On Tuesday August 9, the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Transformation, Youth and Sports and the National Youth Council launched Sign Up at the Bay Gardens Hotel.  The initiative is geared towards energizing and inspiring young people to service their society by joining an existing youth oriented organization in the hope of bestowing intrinsic benefits to participants of discipline and fulfillment.
Ambassador Plenipotentiary to CARICOM and the OECS, Dr June Soomer, expressed great pleasure in a program she describes as “an improvement for primarily the youth of the country.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Transformation, Youth and Sports, Donovan Williams called the launch of the project a “significant test for us” as it represents something tangible.  He therefore extended a challenge to society to get involved in Sign Up because “no one entity has total control over the domain of youth.  Let us unleash the full potential of our youth.”
Prime Minister Stephenson King hailed the Sign Up’s coordinator Merphilus James for offering a clarion call in December after Hurricane Tomas.  James works in the Prime Minister’s Office and has been an integral part in the formulation and execution of the project.  King hopes the program will break barriers and transcend generation, race and economic class.
Sign Up hopes to increase the existing youth organization membership by at least 25 percent.  Additionally, it hopes to promote the benefits of teamwork and highlight the successes of people young and old who have been part of a youth organization.  Sign Up wants to facilitate the environment for the reactivation or establishment of student councils and the expansion of uniformed groups around the island.
In the next two weeks, an announcement will be made as to where to sign up.  The announcement will follow on the heels of a youth conference on August 24 to be held at the Marigot Secondary School.
Prime Minster King announced, “I want you to hold me and the Minister for Youth accountable for the success of the program. I promise you that we will ensure that this program will bring change.”

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