Over two hundred gang members from Belize City have returned to the classroom through an initiative undertaken by the Department of Youth Services (DYS). The young men, who are from various gang-ridden communities in the old capital, are being taught courses in reading, math, and financial literacy. The collaboration is a partnership with the DYS, the Leadership Intervention Unit (LIU), and the Ministry of Youth. Dr. Lorna McKay, Education Liaison Officer for the LIU, spoke about the initiative and the impact it is expected to have on the enrolled gang members.
Retired educator Vernadell Bailey, who is one of the instructors of the program, says the courses are retrofitted to engage the youth in capacity-building training sessions that provide valuable life skills.
The DYS is scheduled to launch a National Training Institute for at-risk youths in September of this year.