The Youth Development Division launched the 2018 Summer Volunteerism Program in collaboration with the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division on Monday 16 July 2018.
The program is being held under the theme “Youth Volunteerism- The Foundation for building a Resilient Environment”, at a cost in excess of eighty thousand dollars.
Chief Youth Development Officer, John Roach explained that the Youth’s Division’s Summer Volunteerism Program has been in existence for thirty-six years, twenty-three of which focused on students engaging in a work study camp.
This year two hundred and forty young persons will join the over ten thousand secondary and college students and twenty thousand primary school students who have taken part in this program.
The students are from twenty-four communities across the island in the eight Youth Districts, he said.
Roach explained that the Youth Division is collaborating with the Forestry Division for this year’s program in answer to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s call to transform Dominica into the first climate resilient country in the world.
“The Youth Development Division embarked on doing just that. In fact, the Youth Development Division has been the foundation as far as volunteerism is concerned following any major disaster in the country through the Cadets, Scouts and youth volunteers,” he stated.
The overall objective of Summer Volunteerism 2018 is to “promote and illustrate the importance of youth involvement in developing a climate resilient nation by paying special attention to the environment”.
Objectives of this year’s program are: to ensure that youth understand and contribute to a climate resilient nation through adaptation and mitigation practices; to ensure youth assist and contribute to healthy environments in their communities through reforestation and afforestation; to allow youth to assist in the restoration of eco-sites and parks island wide; to engage youth in self-development, community rehabilitation and leadership sessions; to cultivate in youth the art of critical thinking to harness the creative energy of young people for preservation of the environment, themselves, community and country as a whole.
Summer Volunteerism 2018 will also include the training in soft skills such as leadership, program planning, team building, conflict resolution, climate change adaptation and resilience and disaster mitigation.
“These will be done in two zonal workshops with twenty-four lead volunteers and twenty-four deputy lead volunteers followed by eight district workshops with all two hundred and forty volunteers,” Roach explained.
Student volunteers will also engage in replanting over fifteen hundred trees, clearing and repairing trails, beautification, and rehabilitation of at least eight dwelling homes of economically challenged families.
This year’s activities will climax with Volunteers Appreciation Day which will be held this year in Portsmouth.
Roach encouraged young people to engage in volunteerism in their respective communities telling them “it is the right thing to do, it is a win/win situation, the volunteers win and the entire country on a whole wins”.
The Lead Volunteers Training will begin at Cabrits in Portsmouth on Tuesday 17 July 2018 and Wednesday 18 July 2018 for Zone 1 while Zone 2 will begin training on Thursday 19 July 2018 and Friday 20 July 2018 at the Dominica Public Service Union Building.
Volunteer training at the district level will commence the following week. The projects will be implemented from July 30 to August 10, 2018 and the Volunteerism Appreciation Day will be held on August 17, 2018.