JAMAICA MENTORING ORGANISATION TO PRESENT PAPER AT INTERNATIONAL FORUM
Jamaica's only full-time mentoring organisation, the nine- year-old Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) has been selected to present a paper at the 13th annual 'Diversity in Mentoring Conference' of the International Association @MA).This wiIl take place in New Orleans fmm March 30 to Apnl 1 this year. The YOU team, which will be led by founder and executive Director Betty Ann Blaine, will focuson the special challenges and successesof mentoring young people in the developing world.
American Airlines will be providing the airline tickets
for Mrs. Blaine and two other senior &members
m e n t o r i n g o ~ a n i s a t i o t o t r a v e l t o N e w O r l e a n s t o a t t e n d the sonfermce, wluch will focus on the theme: "Mentoring for the Millcnnium" YOU's representatton at the New Orleansconference is also kin@su~oorte bv USAID and - -
Peoples Action for ~ommunity?r&formati&
American Airlines to fry Mentoring team to world conference: Mrs Lorn Jumpp (right)Customer Senice Represenfnh've of American Airlines, presem three complimentary airlinetickerstoMrs. Be@yAnn Blnine, Execdve Director of Yo& Opp0m11ifies Unlimifed(YOU).
Mrs Blaine and Mrs Sheila Nicholson, YOU's Senior Projects Officer, will deliver a joined presentation entitled "Mentoring in the Caribbean: A Jamaican Pers~ective". The one h;w session will include a ten minute h d m on the progran~me operated hy the Youth Opponunit~es
Unlimi?ed, and -verbal representatives.
These will focus on innovative shategies used by the organisation to enhance mentoringrelationships and enrich t h e l i v e s o f b o t h m e n t o r s a n d ' m e n t e e s ' . T h e J a m a i c a n n e k e r s w i l l h i e h l i r h t t h e n e e d s o f t h e v o u n e s t e r s . t h e - , ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ - ~ ~ ~ ~ - ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ , ~ - . ~ s o c i a l s u p p o r t s t r u c t u r e s a v a i l a b l e t o m e n t o r s , a n d t h e strategies relevant to sustaining and enriching a mentoring programme. They will also provide an illustrated description of the one-to-one mentoring, group mentoring and other support programmes provided by YOU, in which over 900 Jamaican adolescents are currently e n r o l l e d . a n d w h i c h i n t h e i r w i d e r o u t r e a c h a r e i m o m v i n r the lives'of an estimated half a million youngsters. ' membership from mentoring programme coordinators, mentorslprot6g6s. and individuals and organisations representing: all levels of education systems, health and human services, community based organisatins, government agencies, non-profit groups and business. Youth OpportunitiesUnlimited has been a member of the 1MA since it was launched in 1991, and was represented at the IMA's annual Conference for the fmt time last year, when two senior staffers attended the event in Atlanta, Georgia in April, with Air Jamaica providingair transportation. - '1n addition to focusinr on the intemationd asart of mentoring," Mrs. ~laiue>x~lains",we are ainiing to spotlight the special needs of young people and those dedicated to supporting them in the developingworld, and also to stimulate networking among IMA members and visitors from the Caribbean. YOU is particularly interested in sharing and collaborating in mentoring From a regional oerscective!' The programme operated by Youth Opportunities Unlimited are designed to help students to complete their post primary education, and move on to higher education, employment, or skills training. The organisation has been achieving these objectives through a very successful core programme of one-to-one mentoring, as well as a network of related support progrmes. These include education in Drug Abuse. Anger Management. Reproductive Health and Environmental Issues. .. Thc International Mentoring Association, housed at the Westem Michigan Universitv in the Unital Stated. was established in 198gin mponse io the growing need for an olpanised forum focusing on innovative mentorinpr ideas an> practices. NOW a wAiwide organisation, it i n i t s a broad m s s section of indwiduals intereskd in the thmry and practice of effective mentoring. It encourages The overall YOU Programme, now operated in 10 schools in the CornoraleArea and Portmore. also includes
annual Workplace Shadow Week, a Summer Enrichment Programme. Adolescent Workshops focusing on issues such as family Life and self-esteem, and supervised Homework Centres.
Despite beimg operated by a small team of eight, the YOU programmes have been sowell received that in 1997, the organisation established a Consultancy Programme to train other community groups to set up their own mentoring projects. A total-of 6 a l u m gr&ps;.service clubs, church and ouheach groups and other community oreanisations have been triined under the Cons'ultanc-v ~ G g r a m m eand most of them have already start& mentoringyoungstersin their communities.
Another positive milestone for this dynamic voluntary organisation came in 1999, when the Government commissioned YOU to design and pilot group mentoring programmes in thm residential instihltions for children in Kingston and St. Andrew. These are the Musgrave Girls Home, the Homestead Place of Safety and the Glenhope Place of Safety. YOU also operates a Parenting Education Programme, and carriesout public education and advocacy at.t.he national level, focusing on issues affecting