Though the imagery of unattached Youth poses several concerns for persons living in Western Jamaica, the Publishing Ministries Department of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has sought to play its part in alleviating this challenge. This they have done by implementing a multi-faceted and uniquely designed mentorship programme.
Dubbed the “Youth Challenge Canvassing Programme,” students from Universities and High Schools across the island, receive the opportunity to be trained as Colporteurs and to be actively engaged in Community Outreach initiatives; a perfect alternative from participating in the deviant activities that surround them. Another wonderful element of the programme is that it provides an opportunity for the Youth to fund their tuition.
“We presently have this programme as a means of helping students to get experience as witnesses for the Lord and also to raise funds for their education,” said Pastor James Sonlin, Director of the Publishing Ministries Department of the Conference. “This programme is geared at inspiring individuals, to strengthen them spiritually and to help them develop their interpersonal skills. Overall, it is designed to help others in the Community to be healthier and happy and to build the characters of children by nurturing them spiritually.
The Youth Challenge Canvassing Programme forms part of the “Operation Seven Thousand, Mentoring Seven Thousand” initiative conceptualized by Pastor Glen O. Samuels, President of the Conference, that was launched in February 2017.
"The mentorship of our young people is to instill in them wholesome values, Godly attitudes, but more so to help them in practical contexts to handle conflicts, to learn to talk through simple challenges, to understand that it is not every violent act you see you must post on social media," he said.
Damaine Phillips, a participant of the programme and also a Student of the Northern Caribbean University testifies of the positive impact the programme has had on him.
“This is an amazing programme that all young people should be a part of. It has impacted my life spiritually, socially and yes financially! It has assisted me in funding my way through school.”
According to Phillips, the programme also has other tremendous benefits for Youth seeking to attain a better quality of life.
“One of the greatest things that it has done for me is to enrich my relationship with the Lord.
The Youth Challenge Canvassing Programme is an annual programme hosted between May and August of each year.