RISERISE Life Management plans to launch a programme aimed at business training and job creation for at-risk youth.
Last week Thursday, CAC 2000 Foundation — the charitable arm of CAC 2000 Ltd — gave the not-for-profit group $300,000 to enhance the training and mentoring of a least 90 at-risk youth.
RISE Life's mission, according to a release, is to provide educational, vocational and health-related services for at-risk populations.
“This partnership is one that is meaningful for CAC as service provider and employer,” said foundation head Gia Abraham. “RISE has given us an opportunity to provide more persons with access to business resources and education by funding training, mentorships, business coaching and back office support to aid youths in developing their own small businesses.”
The release said 90 youths will be targeted from communities islandwide, and trained in the development of their own small businesses.
According to Sonita Abrahams, executive director of RISE Life Management, “RISE anticipates that by training young persons to create jobs and opportunities within their communities, it will have a multiplier effect, thereby impacting approximately 400 additional lives.”
Psychology Today says mentoring is particularly beneficial to disadvantaged teens. Also, the release said a study from North Carolina State University showed that youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to attend tertiary institutions when they have a mentor.
“RISE is currently implementing an islandwide intervention with funding from the European Union, aimed at building the capacity of 15 civil society organisations. This will include the creation of employment through the establishment of social enterprises for at-risk youth, marginalised women and other vulnerable populations,” Abraham said.
According to the release, RISE Life's vision is in keeping with CAC 2000 Foundation of building a Jamaican society where young people and other vulnerable populations are empowered to make healthy lifestyle choices in a supportive and rehabilitative environment.
CAC Foundation was established in May 2016 with their key objectives being to promote and improve the education of youth in Jamaica and to work with other organisations and institutions that have similar interests to achieve this goal.
For many persons, music soothes the soul. For others, it is the soul – the emotional energy that keeps us going. Kids at the STEP Centre, an institution for children with multiple and complex special needs, are finding this emotional energy as they take part in weekly music classes at the school.
Seeing the impact that music can have on kids with exceptional needs, the CAC 2000 Foundation made it their aim to provide the STEP Centre with an environment of easiness and expression. They were able to approach and provide funding for Emily Dixon, an outstanding expressive music and arts practitioner, to come onboard as orchestrator for the weekly sessions. Since January 2018, she has been leading two sets of 30-minute classes - one set for the younger kids and the other for the more mature.
The STEP Centre strongly believes in unwinding and freeing one’s inner self. Their principal, Hilary Sherlock, says that sounds and beats naturally excite and stimulate children. “Music is a very freeing activity for the children and it allows them to express themselves,” said Ms. Sherlock.
She acknowledges that school, in general, tends to be about trying to get a child to do something that he or she is unable to do but in having an activity like music, the children are able to relax and be themselves. “When we introduce an activity like music, it really affirms a child’s basic being. They are able to enjoy the activity and realize their sense of worth.”
Three months in, and the STEP Centre children have already been demonstrating behavioural and social progress. Emily shares that her music classes allow the children to get practice in carrying out simple day to day tasks such as waiting their turn and acknowledging others.
“That’s something that builds them. I’ve found that there are certain children who are really getting the hang of things. At first, they’d be throwing instruments, but now they’re holding on to them longer, playing when they’re supposed to be playing and stopping when they’re supposed to be stopping. So as simple as it seems, it’s very heartwarming,” said Emily.
Each week when it comes time for music class, the children - most of whom have to be strolled across the room - make their way to the designated area. From shakers, to tambourines, to cowbells, each child gets to choose an instrument to make their own rhythms and tunes. And while many of them are unable to hold the instruments on their own, what is still evident is the smile on each child’s face when given the freedom of expression.
Over the past year, The CAC 2000 Foundation in partnership with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund has executed the ICDP (Integrated Community Development Project) Alternative Livelihoods Skills Development programme which received 132 enrollments from several inner-city communities and 100% pass rate of all who completed the course. The graduates have been qualified in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Principles, Carrier Air Conditioners’ General Training in Air Conditioning (GTAC) Levels 1-2 having received approximately two-hundred (200) hours of both theory and practical training. As part of the programme, students also received soft skills training and first level project management. The programme’s success has not been limited to the educating and training of our graduates but also the empowering of each person to achieve more and to be meaningful contributors in their communities and Jamaica at large.