Jamaican News

UTech Reaches out to Thousands in Nearby Communities

The University of Technology (UTech) has launched its ‘Papine Wellness’ Fest 2017, which will engage thousands of residents living in 15 communities located in close proximity to the university’s campus.

The interventions will be implemented over a six-week period starting February 23 at the August Town Primary School.

Activities will include dental and basic health checks; seminars on healthy lifestyle, education, justice, and security; community workday; football and netball competitions; and entertainment.
Key agencies, such as the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) will also be on hand to provide services and information.

The initiative involves collaboration with the Social Development Commission (SDC), National Integrity Action (NIA), Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and the Papine Development Area Committee (PDAC).

The primary objective of the wellness fest is to strengthen the social and economic fabric of the communities, and empower young people towards wholesome activities and away from the lure of crime and other antisocial behaviour.

Vice President for Community Services and Development, UTech, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, said the university wants to reach out to the youth so that they can feel a part of the development of their communities.

“We do need to ensure and reassure our young people that there is a future and that they can rely on us for guidance, protection and support as they pave their way into a rapidly changing world,” she said at the launch held recently on the UTech campus.

Director for Community Services and Development, Paulton Gordon, explained that the activities will be centred around four hub communities – August Town, Kintyre, Gordon Town and Stand Pipe – with the adjoining communities to participate in engagements around a specific hub.

He said the interventions will also be used to leverage the competencies and skills in the communities for the development of the areas. They will also serve to make residents more aware of various career opportunities.

It is hoped that coming out of the activities there will be increased awareness of development issues; greater youth inclusion initiatives; increased emphasis on safety and security; re-establishment of the youth club network; and the creation of a vibrant recreational and sports entertainment committee to engage young people.

Field Supervisor at the SDC, Darron Murray, praised UTech for staging the wellness fest for a second time, saying it was a commendable effort. Last year, a mini version of the wellness fest called ‘UTech Connect’ was held, which proved to be a success, and the institution decided to extend its intervention.

Mr. Murray said the SDC partnership with UTech on the venture is well within its operational mandate, which is focused on enhancing community development.

The SDC will lend its on-the-ground expertise by assisting to tailor the services to be offered to meet the needs of individual communities.

“The development of our country starts at the community level. Our mandate at the SDC is to do whatever it takes to aid in the development of our country, and projects like this represent a notch on the ladder of development, so we wholeheartedly endorse it,” Mr. Murray noted.

Article by: O Rodger Hutchinson
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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