By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Conscious Youth Development Program (CYDP) closed one of its annual sports summer programs on Friday during a ceremony at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) compound on Freetown Road.
The program taught life skills and sports disciplines (football and basketball) to 100 at risk south side Belize City youths between the ages of 12 and 19.
Participants were given team trophies, individual cash prizes, and cheques of $300, $200, and $100 to the first second and third place teams respectively. All participants also received a new schoolbag along with some school supplies and other items.
Marnette Westby, director at CYDP, explained that this year the organization employed a new method by teaching the life skills at the venues where the sporting events would take place. “One of the things we noticed was that life skills in the classroom during the summer months were unattractive,” Westby said.
On hand to give out trophies and prizes was Minister of State responsible for CYDP Hon. Mark King. King emphasized that programs that keep youths positively engaged are important because the country collectively feels the effects if the youths yield to the influences of crime and violence. “Bullets have no names or addresses on them when these young men give in to that gang culture,” King said, “so that’s why at CYDP we do interventions in the schools and so forth so we can find them and begin to assist them before they go that route.”
The total cost of the project, which began on July 21, was an estimated $15,000. The program is one of several being carried out simultaneously by CYDP.
The “Peace Cup” program, a large scale sports summer program, is scheduled to hold its closing ceremony in September.