The Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal Liveable Neighbourhood Centre partnered with the Adelaide Village Youth Association (AVYA) to operate a three-week community based, educational resource and youth development programme called “Operation R.E.A.C.H. Summer Youth Enrichment Programme”.

The programme was designed to reach, enhance, assure, care for and help the youth of the two participating communities by empowering them to become contributing members of society through asset-based, experimental learning.

The children who performed well during the summer programme received dance scholarships, medals and other little tokens at the programme’s recent closing ceremony.

It was organised and supervised by Bain and Grants Town Urban Renewal Centre Manager Mary Jean Lightbourn and President/Executive Director of the AVYA Giovanni Ferguson.

Ms. Lightbourn explained that one of the objectives of the programme was to allow the children in the two communities to interact.

“Surprisingly,” she said, “the Bain & Grants Town children had never focused on this end of town; they did not know about Clifton Heritage; they did not know about the Farm; they did not even know these kids lived out here.

“So we found that bringing the two groups together ended up being very enriching and rewarding for both of us.”

Ms. Lightbourn also noted that it was cost effective for both communities to combine their resources.

“Giovanni had some resources; I had some resources. He had certain experiences; I had certain experiences. So we combined them and we came up with what I think is a dynamic programme.”

Mr. Ferguson added that the partnership will continue, with the venue for the programme switching between the two communities.

During the three weeks, the children were exposed to karate, arts and crafts, music, dance, band and they also went on field trips.

The programme received support and sponsorship from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Nassau Airport Development Company, the Airport Authority, Coca Cola, Albany and the Royal Bank of Canada & Finco.

Ms. Lightbourn said more sponsorship is needed for the programme to progress even further.

Minister of State for Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard said the Ministry was happy to lend its support to an initiative that allowed children from Bain & Grants Town and Adelaide to socialise and learn together.

He told the summer students they must continue studying and listening to their teachers because they should be ready to take the country to the next level.

Other special guests had the same message as Mr. Maynard. Undersecretary in the Ministry of Social Development Alan Strachan; Chairman of the Airport Authority and former Member of Parliament for Adelaide the Hon. Frank Watson and Coordinator of the New Providence Liveable Neighbourhood Programme Ella Lewis were also in attendance.

Mr. Watson said one of the things that seems to prevail in the society today is the lack of supervision, attention, and a lack of parental time to ensure children are properly guided and given the right directions in which to take their lives.

“Boys and girls, we are not going to build a good nation by accident,” Mr. Watson said to the children. “Each and every one of you must do your part to build a good nation; one which we can all be proud.

“But in order to do that you have to be attentive to your parents, to your teachers and all of those who have direction over your lives at this point. You someday will be given direction to others, but today it is your time to take direction.”