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Hundreds of youths from across the country today participated in a youth expo organized by the Department of Youth Services.  The activity was a part of the celebration of international Youth Day which was held under the theme “Youth Civic Engagement”.  Youth Officer Adrienne Young told us about the expo.

Adrienne Young – Youth Officer

“Well today is an expo that our department in collaboration with the Love Foundation has put together for International Youth Day. It’s basically under the theme Youth Civic engagement where we are trying to get our young people active in our country and in our community.”

Young told us about the different groups that were a part of the expo and how they were recruited.

Adrienne Young – Youth Officer

The different booths we have out here are youth oriented groups and different organizations that work along with young people. For example our department the Department of Youth Services we have out here BFLA, the Cadet Corp, 4H we have Rotaract over here, we have all of them having to do with young people or they work with young people or are youth groups and basically we got them out here to join us because we want everyone to come as one in unity to celebrate International Youth Day.”

The aim of the different booths was to get youths involved, to find out information about the organization and services that are available to them. Young spoke to us about the focus of the Development of Youth Services booth.

Adrienne Young – Youth Officer

We are talking about the services we offer the four units that we have at our department and then we are just playing some games with the young people, giving them prizes and getting them involved and asking them to visit our department and to get them engaged. We are giving out information we have our units so enterprise, sexual and reproductive health unit, violence reduction unit and our governance unit. So we are just talking about those four different units and what we do, the services we offer, what our department has to offer to our young people and that they should visit us.”

We also spoke with Adriana Avalez a volunteer at the Youth Department in Punta Gorda.

Adriana Avilez – Volunteer

“I am out here today to support International Youth day and to celebrate International Youth day. Together the people that came down here today we had to go through a process of selecting youths who we saw as leaders in our community or youths who we saw had the potential to be leaders in our community and to just go out there and spread the word about what we learnt today and what we will learn in the future and what we can teach each other. The information we are spreading today is mainly about the national youth policy and youth council. The youth policy is basically just a platform for youth development where we will promote youths and we will advocate for them and give them awareness as to what are their rights and responsibilities as a youth in Belize.”

Belmopan Active Youths has been very active in getting young people in the Belmopan area involved. Gem Turner is the Assistant secretary of BAY.

Gem Turner – BAY

“We started three years ago under the leadership of Ms. Ana Guy, Ms. Priscilla Salam in Belmopan. The department of youth services invited us to come here and to showcase what all we have to offer, our accomplishments and everything. We are telling the public here in Belize City what BAY is about, our main mission is to educate, engage and empower youths. As you see we have a lot of youths here we brought about 35 youths here to get exposed to what it’s like to share what BAY is because I have done it a lot so I am giving them the opportunity now. Right now we have the job creation and entrepreneurship development project and we got the grant from the US embassy $USD340, 000 and it is to help youths that are out of school to get jobs, it also has the entrepreneurship component where we have training we partner with BelTraide and we also have the job skills training component where we partner with YWCA/ITVET and so forth.”

We also visited the booth belonging to the Primary School Art Skills Training, where young children were welcomed to express their love for art. The expo wrapped up with a concert featuring a number of Belizean artists.