Youth Enhancement Services known as Y-E-S has gotten onboard with the US State Department and the Belize Police Department for a new Community Policing initiative.
The three year, hundred thousand dollars project focuses on reducing youth involvement in violent crime. The project funds will assist in the renovation of the Southside pool near the Raccoon Street Police Station.
In addition, the funds will be utilized to conduct training for parents of at-risk youths, annual camps for police cadets and scholarships for low-income youths that live on the south side of the city. Karen Cain of Y-E-S explained more:
Karen Cain - YES Director
"Today we have our opening ceremony for the CARSI grant, its US$187,100.00. It's a 3 year project that we will be facilitating in partnership with the community policing department."
"Tell us a little bit about the project?"
Karen Cain - YES Director
"The project has 3 main goal; one is to basically refurbished the pool on the Southside of Belize City right in the same compound with Raccoon Street Police Station and hopefully that pool then will engage Southside children in fun activities; learning how to swim,
learning personal development and basically trying to reduce criminal activity and then the second objective of the grant was to facilitate camps for the police cadets and these camps will be held in the 3 zones area; central. Northern and the southern and hopefully we will take the camp in other districts so that the kids get to know the country as well. The third objective is a parenting workshop which we hope to engage over 360 parents; parents of the cadets, parents of YES and parents all over; anyone is welcome to attend and hopefully to gain skills and how to deal with trouble youth. Parenting is tough, so we want these parents to be well equip to deal the young people of today and the last one is scholarships which is much needed for families who are having it very difficult in these economic times and we hope to gain about 100 young people to give them scholarships to attend vocational school, high school and wherever they are going that we can maybe facilitate the help that they will need."
Elodio Aragon Jr., Deputy Comissioner of Police
"One aspect of the community policing unit and the Belize Police Department is looking to reaching out to the youths at risks and I think this one of our greatest challenge in the city especially on the Southside of Belize City. This project; the restoration of the pool is only one part of the entire project as you all have heard this morning but that project will allow us to reach out the kids especially during the summer times and likewise by reaching out to the kids we will be able to reach out to the parents. We are hoping that the location where the pool is being on the Southside of Belize City will give an advantage to us for us to be able to give life skills training and other training that the youths today could use likewise the parents and you know every kid love a pool, so we believe by restoration of this pool - putting in the structure and putting in the kind of training that is required we believe will assist us to begin to build that relationship between the police and the community."
The project has been ongoing since November of last year.