Youth Vision Promotions (YVP) has moved their call to action for ‘Men of God’ to mentor Bermuda’s ‘at risk’ young people, by transforming their plan into hands on action.
Roughly 70 to 80 people responded to the rallying call those interested in getting involved, who signed up at the recent event held at the Heritage Worship Centre in January.
Now there’s three young men already linked up with male mentors, who have given them projects to work on in the weeks ahead.
YVP Director and Lead Organizer, Desmond Crockwell said: “We had them set up in parishes, so people from every parish was represented.
“There were black and white people, there were literally people from every age group there, from ten-year-old children to 70-year-old adults – people who made a commitment to be a part of our initiative.”
Since then, he said: “I have contacted close to 20 of them to get feedback.
“This week we have helped three young men with mentors and projects that they can work on. And we will share their success story in due course.
“We also have another event planned for Friday, February 23rd, and we’ll release more details next week, as we continue on the initiative that we started,” he added.
Asked what sort of feedback he has received from the new mentors who signed up to get on board, he said: “Honestly, people are excited to be informal mentors to those who want someone to talk to.”
The event, held on January 27th, saw “numrerous diverse men and women” gather to hear “powerful messages from speakers”.
Those speakers included Dr Ernest Peets, Pastor Darren Lowe, former inmate Andre Minors, Bermuda’s Olympic Bronze medalist Clarence Hill, Elder Thomas Smith, youth worker Anthony Peets, Bishop of Bermuda, the Rt Rev Nicholas Dill, Kirk Trott, Brother George Smith, and singer Huntley Septimus.
Mr Crockwell challenged those in attendance “to form community-focused groups, with the intention of communities pooling their resources to help ‘those identified as at risk’ young people”.
Mr Trott spoke of his time living in Compton, California, dealing marijuana, when he ‘got jumped’ by gang members after beating one of them up for ‘owing money’.
Septimus serenaded the crowd and recalled his days in Jamaica, when he carried a M-16 around on a daily basis, and thought it was normal to live the life of a so-called ‘gangsta’.
Elder Thomas told of how his family was influential in his upbringing. But he said his biggest influence was his late father, who also smoked marijuana as part of his lifestyle, and how he would emulate his father.
It was only when his uncle intervened, with concern, that he realized the positive support was always there. Others spoke of working directly with young people ‘at risk’, and the “undeniable potential that they have”.
The final speaker, George Smith, who only arrived back on the island the day before the event, spoke of the seriousness of the situation in Bermuda today.
He also cited examples of those who are getting involved with gang-type activity; some as young as nine-years-old.
Mr Smith also told the audience gathered, that he has made a commitment to meet with local politicians to raise awareness of the situation.
Mr Crockwell noted that the overall objective of the Men of God Mentorship initiative, “is to isolate the identified ‘at risk’ young persons and build a relationship with them”.
“Those in attendance got insight into what an organized effort would look like and the sacrifice that it will take to make this initiative successful,” he said.
“Time will tell if the efforts of those in attendance will make a difference, but one thing that was obvious at this well organized event, was that there are Bermudians who are willing to work together to help those who need it.
‘And each one can reach one, ” he added.
The night also featured the launch of the second edition of the new VISIONZ Anti-Violence Magazine, featuring interviews, experiences and the opinions of those who have been impacted by violence, both personally and professionally.
They are currently available at Brown & Co, BIU Gas Station, Van Buren Gas Station, Bermuda College Book Store, Satronics Enterprise, Chinese Healing Arts in Warwick.
“The magazines are $10, and we do offer FREE DELIVERY, wih a minimum of three books per delivery,” Mr Crockwell said.
The magazine also has a youth highlight section, which promotes the talents and efforts of our young people and young professionals.
As Mr Crockwell stated: “You are not buying a magazine, you are buying the message.”
He concluded: “Bermuda, let’s do our part to support the efforts of Youth Vision Promotions, and VISONZ magazine, because one thing was evident at this event, and that is Mr Crockwell and his team care about Bermuda’s young people.”
- To learn more about Youth Vision Promotions call 297-2018, or 337-7786, or email [email protected] or visit Visionz Magazine online