Belize City, 26 April 2018
On Thursday the 26th of April, the Community Rehabilitation Department (CRD) within the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation held its first Youth Resiliency Awards ceremony to recognize current and former clients who have made tremendous strides to live a positive life despite the adversity they face. Ninety-nine youths from across the country were awarded within three categories:
- “On the Right Path” – 63 received certificates and a gift bag in this category
- “Milestone Achievement” – 30 plaques were distributed to clients who also received a giftbag, $20 phone credit courtesy of Belize Telemedia Ltd. and a $50 gift certificate
- “Resiliency Spotlight” – 6 clients were awarded plaques and featured in a video profile shown at the ceremony. In addition to their award, these youths received a brand-new cell phone and $20 phone credit courtesy of Belize Telemedia Ltd.
CRD is tasked with the prevention, rehabilitation, and diversion programs aimed at first-time offenders and juveniles in conflict with the law. As such its staff of seventeen Community Rehabilitation Officers across the country bear witness to the challenges their clients face on a daily basis, but who also see the strong resilience in those clients, and their desire to live a happy and productive life, in a safe and peaceful community. This awards ceremony serves as a motivator for these at-risk youths to continue working on the positive changes in their lives, ensuring they have a rewarding future to look forward to, as well as to inspire others in similar difficult circumstances to make the same efforts to effect positive changes in their own lives.In her speech, CRD Director Starla Bradley spoke about the challenges many young people face and the fact that not everyone has the same opportunities to achieve their full potential. “What many of us take for granted, many of the young people in this room have had to struggle for… So when we say that these young people have overcome adversity, it means that they have endured abuse, violence, injustices, exploitation, isolation, grief and loss, BUT despite the challenges that they had to face, they STILL managed to believe in themselves, enough to fight for a better future.”
In addition to recognizing clients, CRD also handed out 4 Partnership Awards to Maud Williams High School, Joseph Stamp Romero, Community Policing – Eastern Division, and Belize Friends School for their role in supporting the rehabilitation of youths. According to Minister of Human Development, Hon. Anthony “BOOTS” Martinez, collaboration is key to successful rehabilitation, “We must work together to create a culture within our society that embraces second chances and recognizes the fact that we all make mistakes and that people can change. It takes all of us working together to support our children, adolescents and their families… The Ministry of Human Development and our partner agencies in the social sector are continuously working towards developing and improving the kind of services those adolescents who come into conflict with the law, and those that are at risk of doing so, need in order to support them in their resilience. I would like to challenge all concerned citizens to become involved in helping to support our young people and build their resiliency.”
The Youth Resiliency Awards ceremony was held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts under the theme “Through Adversity We Rise.” The event also featured performances song, dance and drama performances by youths. Guest Speaker was Capt. Adrian Ramirez, Pilot in the BDF Air Wing.