BELAIR – The Youth Department in collaboration with the Division Educational Innovation (DEI) is coordinating and executing a series of events falling under the “I Am King” project.
The “I Am King” project was launched in 2015, and the “I Am King” Youth Forum was held on Wednesday December 7, at the Belair Community Center, where Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Silveria Jacobs was in attendance. The forum, utilizing the theme, “Managing My Reality,” was geared as a platform for young men to voice their opinions, concerns and suggestions/solutions to key issues and topics in the community.
Minister Jacobs applauded the young men for being in attendance, stating they were truly kings for being chosen to attend the forum. “This is an indication [that it is time] to start thinking of yourself as a king, seeing yourself as a leader, as a forerunner and not a follower,” Minister Jacobs said. The Minister was delighted to see a room full of young men from St. Maarten, and appreciated their efforts to get involved and provide feedback to the various departments, which collaborated on the event.
The Minister encouraged the men to voice their opinions, on paper and verbally. “You can be the change St. Maarten needs. If you a have positive influence, share that positivity with someone. Use this forum as your stepping stone… though you may not be in a classroom, this [forum] is education,” she concluded.
The objective of the youth forum was to discuss and gather information on the views of young men between the ages of 15 and 20 years old on prevalent topics such as youth culture, relationships, usage of drugs and committing of violent acts and the man’s role within society, and utilize this information to better organize youth male empowerment activities for 2017 and beyond; to gather suggestions and plausible solutions from young men ages 15 to 20 years old on issues faced by the community in regard to the topics mentioned above, and discuss these suggestions with the relevant stakeholders; to collect the information from the youngsters and present it to key stakeholders engaged and/or associated with male empowerment within the community in order to help further devise a wholesome and integrated approach to male empowerment on St. Maarten.
All high schools selected young men to attend the forum as well as male faculty members to accompany the students. The schools present were: St. Maarten Academy (Academic & PSVE), Milton Peters College (MPC), National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), St. Dominic High School, Learning Unlimited (LU), St. Maarten Vocational Training School (SMVTS), MAC CSE, Sundial, Charlotte Brookson Academy (CBA) and University of St. Martin (USM).
Two panel sessions were held and questions were posed to the young men. Some young men had the opportunity to sit on a panel with their peers as well as invited guests such as Kevin “Suppa” Petrona, Darin “King Vers” Hodge, and Mirto Breell. Rumari “King Rumer” Rogers performed and gave words of encouragement to the young men. “If you have a dream, make it your reality,” he mentioned. Lenworth Wilson Jr. hosted the event. The forum ended with a Q&A session and presentation of the “I Am King” packages.
The other seminars namely, the “I Am King” Public Seminar and the “I Am King” Stakeholders’ session will be held at a later date.