PHILIPSBURG - Youth on St. Maarten can now look forward to services of a Youth Desk coordinated by the Department of Youth Affairs.
Department officials announced the launch of the newly established Youth Desk which comes as a follow up intervention stemming from the successful Youth Round Table Conference held at the Westin in September last year.
The aim of the Youth Round Table Conference was to review programs deriving from the Integrated Youth Policy and discuss possible new initiatives to achieve the indicators outlined in the policy.
During that conference, the two hundred and fifty –strong youth delegation, voiced their opinion on matters affecting them such as immigration issues, teen-age pregnancy, youth crime, and youth involvement among others. These opinions were underscored by approximately 1700 youth who participated in an online survey conducted by the department prior to the conference.
The Youth Desk, which will be housed in the John Smith Building on Backstreet, main objective will be to equip and empower youth on St. Maarten with the necessary knowledge and skills so that the outcome can yield developed youth who can have an active role and positive participation in society. The Youth Desk project also creates opportunities for internships for students studying locally and abroad.
The official activities of the Youth Desk are set to begin in January of 2015 and will address topics such as: Legal Status, National Identity and Cultural Diversity and Assimilation. These sessions will be conducted through collaborative efforts from several government ministries and UNESCO. Department officials have already begun the process of contacting schools to engage their participation.
Additionally, In order to promote more youth involvement in the decision making processes which affects them directly, the Department of Youth Affairs has decided to launch a competition for its newly established Youth Desk. This competition will allow participants to propose a project activity for the Youth Desk. The winning proposal will be executed in 2015. Details of this competition will be made available to all schools via the department.
As an added incentive, and in keeping with the ever changing communication trends, the Department of Youth Affairs has also officially announced the launch of its Facebook page called St. Maarten Youth Affairs. The page will keep the public abreast with all youth related activities organized by the department starting with the Rights of the Child Calendar of Events and the Youth Desk Competition. The department has taken a step further, by introducing a newly designed logo and slogan of its vision and mission.
The Staff at the Department of Youth Affairs is excited as the newly implemented strategies and branding, endeavors to offer improved services to the youth. Through these efforts, the Department of Youth Affairs, as stated in its slogan aims to “Inspire Educate and Empower”.