The Young Women’s Christian Association of Belize, YWCA, showcased the work of the students in the Helping Early Leavers Program, HELP. The event was held as part of education week. Alicia Bent, Principal of the HELP program told us more about the event.
Alicia Bent, Principal of HELP Program, YWCA: “Today we have the students in cosmetology offering services, we have the students in the sewing department displaying the works that they’ve done throughout the school year and also those in the hospitality program as well and in the small business the students are showing the different products that they have been producing and offering to members of the public. The program is a two year program and so the students throughout that two years develop in terms of their personal development. A core part of the program has to do with life skills and besides the life skills there is also the trade skills so it’s a learning process and a part of that learning process they are also learning a small business component. “
Reporter: So as they study they are making money as well?
Alicia Bent, Principal of HELP Program, YWCA: “Absolutely and we encourage them to continue with that, the part of making money also at home, once you earn the skill then you can offer your services and make your products and offer it to members of the public. So it’s definitely as you are learning you are earning and at times they do waitressing services as well.”
The students will be graduating from the program in June. Jessica Hernandez is currently is the first year of the program and told us how she has benefited from joining the program.
Jessica Hernandez, Participant: “I went to YWCA because I wanted to do something, I wanted to be something in life and show others what I can do.”
Reporter: Which of the three is your favorite so far?
Jessica Hernandez, Participant: “Cosmetology ! I love doing hair and nails. I practice at home too.”
Reporter: I’m told that some students get little jobs here and there is that your case?
Jessica Hernandez, Participant: “Yes ma’am they take us out and we get to do hair and nails like if a person wants to do nails they can just come, have an appointment and they can come.”
Reporter: What do you think of the program?
Jessica Hernandez, Participant: “It’s a good program. For those who want to come you will have a good time because we go on trips, we do basic math, english, we have swimming and we have PD in the morning for those who come with bad things and they help us out here.”
Reporter: Do you plan to put up a business when you graduate from the program?
Jessica Hernandez, Participant: “Yes ma’am I want to own my own salon.”
At the start of the next school year in September, the HELP program will see the addition of two new classes. These are the prevocational and PSE Preparatory classes. The program caters to girls ages thirteen to 18 years.