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LIU/BPD/DYS conduct life skills training for at-risk youths

HighlightsLIU/BPD/DYS conduct life skills training for at-risk youths

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. June 28, 2024

The Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU) under the Belize Police Department (BPD), in collaboration with the Department of Youth Services (DHS), commenced day one of a five-day life skills workshop on Friday, June 28, for persons participating in the upcoming William Dawson Sprite Youth Basketball Tournament 2024.

As mentioned above, the persons participating in the five-day workshop will be part of the upcoming William Dawson Sprite Basketball Tournament, as it is a prerequisite to playing in the tournament.

“The sessions in life skills focus on communication skills, anger management, conflict resolution, team building, [and] we’re looking at other topics to help them to build themselves, when it comes to either playing on the basketball court, or off the court when they are in their domain. So, it helps better to deal with situations,” said Douglas Hyde, Coordinator for the William Dawson Sprite Youth Basketball Tournament.

“All those who participate in these sessions will get a step into the tournament; those who do not participate in the sessions will not play. We emphasized it, because we recognize the importance of these structures when it comes to the mission and vision of our late brother, William Dawson, who emphasized intervention through sports. So, it’s not only playing ball on the court, but how you deal with matters and issues off the court,” he further mentioned.

Hyde told Amandala that 35 players from different teams managed to be present on day one of the session, which should be 240 players making up 24 teams for the tournament.

“We know the clientele that we are working with. These are guys from different neighborhoods, and the tournament focuses on that; so, we must focus on not a 10-minute session. As you can see, the discussion is rich. So, it’s not to do a 10-minute session, and the guys walk away; but to have them discuss, doing plays with them, to see how they can deal with situations that affect them daily,” he added.

Another sporting tournament the LIU has under its belt is the William Dawson Peace Cup, which Hyde mentioned has led to positive results, despite the minor hurdles they faced. Unlike its sister tournament, the basketball tournament didn’t show much conflict between the players; and combining the teachings from the session, led to fewer problems.

The majority, if not all of the participants of either tournament, are at-risk youths, who are living in not-so-friendly neighborhoods and might fall into their old ways of conducting unlawful activities. Hyde noted that the tournaments were created for the youth to highlight their talents, and they want them to participate.

“We are dealing with persons who are from different communities that are high risk. The impact of the tournament is to encourage them to participate. The idea is to create opportunities for them to showcase their skills; but now, if they don’t participate, and they go ahead and do what they’re doing, then our department deals with them. It’s like the carrot and the stick approach; you have the carrots for those who want to work with us, but you have the stick for those who don’t, and it is for those who break the law or go other ways. The tournament is for them to participate positively, and hopefully [that] stays in their hearts to do better,” he said.

The William Dawson Sprite Youth Basketball Tournament 2024 officially kicks off on July 12 at Yabrah Green basketball court and will last for 4-months.

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