In Celebration of International Families Day, The Princess Royal Youth Hostel in the Belize District, hosted a rebranding ceremony on Sunday, May 15. This ceremony officially saw the center changing its name to “New Beginnings Youth Development Center”. Changing the name of the facility is symbolic of the fundamental changes that have been brought forward for child protection and rehabilitation. Love News attended the launch ceremony and reporter, Giovanna Moguel has the story.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The New Beginnings Youth Development Center formerly the Princess Royal Youth Hostel symbolises a fresh start for the institution as well as the residents. For many years the youth hostel has had a dark cloud looming over it due to its reputation for being a place where vulnerable children are locked up. The program coordinator of the New Beginnings Youth Development Center, Annie Palacio, explains what this signifies for the residents.
Anne Palacio: Program Coord. New Beginnings Youth Dev. Centre: The kids put all of this together. They had the name for it. They knew what they wanted and it was a collaboration with them and us, management and the kids, to ask to find out, what is that you want for you? How can we make your lives better? How can we make your future better and they tell us and we grant their wishes.
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: The Ministry of Human Development and Families, through their communication with the Women’s Department affected this symbolic change as part of their shift in the community’s attitude toward the facility. Last year, the ministry repealed the Certified Institutions Act, focused on punitive action against at risk youths and instituted residential care facilities. The Minister of Human Development and Families Dolores Balderamos-Garcia explained further.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister, Humans Development, Families and Indigeous people affairs. “We don’t want that stigma of oh they have to send you backa hostel. We don’t want that to continue so instead of a certified institution where you’re signifying that children have gone wrong, a residential care facility is where you can give the children an opportunity for change. We won’t call it Princess Royal Youth Hostel anymore. That’s gone. That’s dead and buried now. So, our New Beginnings Youth Development Center will move that stigma and signal, signify with the symbolism that we have made that very positive change.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Palacio highlighted that the revamping of the facility will allow the residents to develop skills that will help them to become productive and self sustainable citizens.
Anne Palacio: Program Coord. New Beginnings Youth Dev. Centre: “Actually these kids grow their own vegetables and we use that for them to be fed from the kitchen. They have livestock. They grow chickens. They grow pigs and they do it on their own. They take care of these things. They take care of the animals, the vegetables and it helps them to understand what responsibility is. All they want is support. That’s all these kids need and we notice that as long as they get it, they’re shining stars.”
Jovanna Moguel, Love FM News: Gone are the days of colonial practices when children are locked up in correctional facilities for their questionable behaviour as Belize makes a shift in creating a nurturing environment where they will be able to flourish. Reporting for Love News, I am Giovanna Moguel.