Youth Outreach Services

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The YMCA Youth Outreach Services (YOS) is dedicated to developing caring, responsible individuals. YOS has three arms of youth service; MenTouring, HIV and AIDS Awareness and Youth Leadership Development. We are focused on mentoring young boys in a non-violence approach to dealing with gender issues. Our service titled MenTouring provides alternatives through lectures, activities, swimming and personal testimonials of successful males who have survived the odds in society. The MenTouring programme delivers service to Kids In Need of Direction (KIND) and St Michaels Boys’ Home, Credo and other Secondary schools in the environs.

A strong component of MenTouring is creative expression. In order to afford this opportunity, the YMCA has integrated art classes within the sessions. The integration of Art was made possible by American Women’s Group.

The newest strand of MenTouring is the Shoot2Live a project. The project seeks to address the important and socially pertinent issue of male led gender based violence amongst young men in contemporary Port of Spain through the use of photography Training of Trainers

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Shoot To Live

Shoot To Live is a positive twist on the term ’shoot to kill’, an all too prevalent term in a society permeated by violence. The Shoot To Live project aims to document aspects of the young men’s lives through ‘gender lens’. The project’s pilot began with a group of twenty young men who have had access to 35mm cameras and ‘point and shoot’ digital cameras. They are currently shooting photos of various scenes in their daily lives, and have narrated the photos using language and perceptions developed from the MenTouring sessions.

The first phase and second phases produced calendars. We have been exhibiting the photography of the boys in public spaces and have been making enquiries to display at art shows. The final stage will see the boys producing a full colour coffee table magazine.

Shoot To Live serves to offer the boys a unique opportunity to create works of art that not only reflect their creative qualities and thereby build self-esteem, but works of art that are underpinned by sensitivity to gender and its effects on society.

Funded by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), fifteen (15) young men between the ages of 12-17yr from St. Michael’s School for Boys, CREDO Foundation and Rainbow Rescue are participated in the YMCA’s Shoot To Live project. The project comprises Life skills sessions (on self-esteem, team building, reason and emotions, conflict resolution and aggression), basic photography and basic video exposure.

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HIV and AIDS

The HIV and AIDS component of the YMCA Youth Outreach Services has always focused on innovative strategies to build awareness and encourage proactive responses for sexual and reproductive rights especially for those who are at risk to HIV and AIDS. As an organization, the YMCA places great emphasis on building the emotional and social competence of all youth, specifically marginalized youth, and combatting the prevalence of HIV and AIDS within our target age group of 15-24yrs. With years of innovative campaigns; The ‘S’ Word, Sex is Ovah, Think Right…Act Wise…Live Nice, and now S.E.C.S. Our peer educators have always employed a dynamic approach when interacting with the general public and youth.

S.E.C.S. is the new kid on the block! The HIV/AIDS outreach team is geared and ready to intervene with a new youthful, innovative strategy; Sex Education through Creative Solutions. This vibrant group of young persons have broken the mold and gone beyond the template of peer education in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

S.E.C.S. uses creative strategies and techniques to educate the public on HIV/AIDS awareness and preventative methods. These dynamic peer-fessionals are advocates, against stigmatization and other issues which affect persons living with HIV and AIDS.

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Leadership Development

As we understand leadership to be an in-formal educational and voluntary action, we have developed as an umbrella activity that aims to empower the Young People of the organization through capacity building and service empowerment ensuring responsible and transformational citizens, directly connected to YMCA programs, The programme is entrenched the Christian Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.