This morning journalists were invited by Restore Belize to a briefing where lessons learnt from the Metamorphosis programme were shared. The objectives of Metamorphosis Programme are to strengthen communities in Southside Belize City by fostering resiliency in young people and to provide adults with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective parents.Director of Restore Belize, Mary Vasquez, underscored the successes of the Metamorphosis Programme.
Mary Vasquez, Director of Restore Belize: “One success of course is staying in school, the other success is not joining gangs. We have improved behavior which again links again to staying in school so I suppose on an individual level success is improved behavior, improved academic performance, improved relationships in the home, having the home be a more supportive environment and social connections, creating social connections for the children and the families to extracurricular activities, we’ve had a lot of children join Police Cadets, they love Police Cadets. We’ve had them work with community Policing officers and sports programs are joined so that sort of things so those has been successes that then as one of our social workers pointed out we have children now who have been on this program, who have joined this program when they were twelve or ten and they are now on the point of graduating from high school, that’s a huge success in this context. Children are being traumatized as we have seen in some of the recent violence. Children are being traumatized six months old, eighteen months old in the most horrible and disgusting ways so trauma is presenting adverse effects, adverse events are in the child’s life from birth so there is no time when it’s is too early start and of course prevention is the best thing but in terms of a state or a national strategy it is always more effective and more efficient to front load your investments in a human being’s life because proper foundation is always easier to build on than trying to go and fix a foundation that is faulty.”
The majority of homicides takes place in Belize City, particularly involving young males in the Southside. The 2010 study entitled “Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize” provides significant insight into the real issues affecting these male youth.