The Youth Enhancement Services (YES) and the Community Policing Department received funding of over US$170,000 from the United States Embassy through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) to facilitate a three-year project that the two organizations have partnered to carry out.
The funding was approved in January of this year and the project has been officially launched. The project is aimed at decreasing crime and violence in the community.
Douglas Hyde, Police Youth Coordinator, said that he collaborated with Karen Cain, director of YES, and focused on some of the programs they carry out under community policing that are not government-funded.
“Last year in 2012 they sent out a call for proposals from organizations, specifically NGOs in the area of community policing,” Hyde said. “The proposals were to look at ways of building partnership and collaboration with the police department in the area of crime and violence.”
Hyde said that he and Cain developed a proposal together that focused on key areas, specifically four areas, of their programs for which they can partner for the next three years. The first of the four undertakings is the renovation of Queen Square pool, which is behind the police station. The second one is the carrying out of national parenting training aimed particularly at parents of the police youth cadet and young people from the different communities in the districts. The third area of focus involves the hosting of summer camps for the police youth cadets.
“For the last two years we had some challenges when it comes to financial issues for the summer camp, and for the proposal we were asking for three years of support for the running of these camps,” Hyde said. “These camps have about 800 young people for about two weeks. We look at areas of life skills, survival skills, personal development, skills training, and then we invite different social organizations to do presentations with the young people,” he explained.
The final project activity involves seeking scholarships for 100 persons who then would be placed in nontraditional schools. The eligible persons are to be young persons from the Belize District who are considered to be high-risk.
“Persons who are in the worst of the worst case, so the support would be very, very good,” Hyde said. “The scholarship would cover uniforms, cover their fees, and also looking at a small stipend, a weekly stipend to cover like their traveling expense; we’re looking at food and stuff like that,” he further explained.
Hyde said that YES will be operating as the “umbrella agency” over community policing because they are responsible for financial processes.
“We will implement all these activities along with YES’ support and guide, along with the financial support,” he said. “We’ve already started the parenting training programs in Belize City two weeks ago. We have over 18 parents already participating in the training. Just this week we started the renovation of the pool. The pool will be a six-week project and will be finished almost by the middle of March, when we will have the official opening just before Easter. Then for the scholarships, we are identifying people right now,” he said.
Hyde said that the community policing unit has worked with YES before, but this is the first project that they have carried out together.
“We and YES have worked together for the last three years and this is why we continue,” he said. “We have seen some serious positive results over the last few years in partnership with each other. Based on those quality results we said that we would want to continue that relationship and to build more upon the activities and programs that we carry out in the community.”
Hyde said that interested persons can visit the offices of YES or community policing for more information or to submit an application. He said that the first cadet camp will be held in July in the Belize District.