The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) is encouraging parents, guardians and community members to monitor the activities of adolescents while schools are on holidays.
This in light of reported increases in the registration of teenaged pregnant girls and adolescent mothers at the institution’s centres at the conclusion of these periods, according to Director of Field Operations, Beverley Martin Berry.
“One of the things that we recognise… is that after a summer break [in particular], during the months of September [and] October, we’ll see an increase in enrolment as it relates to adolescent mothers,” she noted while speaking at a recent Jamaica information Service (JIS) Think Tank, at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston.
Against this background, Mrs. Martin Berry encourages parents to be diligent in monitoring their youngsters’ activities and ensuring they are aware of “what is being done during the summer break”.
“We urge, not only parents, but community groups to continue to work with our young people during summer so that this rate of adolescent pregnancy is lowered through how our young people are engaged,” she implored.
The Director argued that the manner in which adolescents are engaged must also be taken into consideration.
Enrolment in church and community group camps, where teens can acquire awareness and a variety of skills, is encouraged.
The WCJF also organises its own programme that targets adolescents during the summer months.
“The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation seeks to engage young people through our peer counselling workshops. That is one avenue that parents can use to continue to [keep] young persons [occupied] while they are out of school. It is also a space that educates them on sexual reproductive health, builds personal development skills and [guides them on] how to make decisions on activities that could impact their lives negatively,” Mrs. Martin Berry outlined.
The prevention of adolescent pregnancies is a mandate of the WCJF, which it addresses through several activities.
These include close working relations between the counselling staff and schools; testimonials from mothers in the Programme for Adolescent Mothers (PAM); and school tours organised in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
SOURCE: JAMAICA INFORMATION SERVICE