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Voices of Child Month 2023

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Child Month is celebrated every May. In 2023 the Youth Services Unit (YSU) in partnership with the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) commemorated with the theme: “Investing in our Children, means investing in our Future.” A Teen Panel was hosted to hear the voices of youth representatives across a variety of schools and colleges.

Consisting of two (2) portions; the first portion (of the Teen Panel) was led by CARICOM Youth Ambassador (CYA) Ms. Vanessa Burke who began by asking a series of questions that explored the teen panelists' recommendations for developing and enhancing programmes, services or community resources to provide youth development and empowerment opportunities. CYA Mr. Chad Powell Jr. led the second portion under the same theme. Questions delved into youth's access to green spaces, sustainable development, social cohesion, education and other youth-related issues shaping the community/government's "investment in youth."

In attendance, the Honorable Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage (YSCH) Bernie Bush; Deputy Chief Officer for YSCH Dr. Dalton Watler; Head of YSU Mrs. Mellony Bryan-Waugh; and (DCFS) Head of the Child Month Committee Ms. Genevieve Tomlinson; listened to the variety of recommendations offered as the panelists made comments on how the lives of youth could be improved. Parents and members of the Youth Services Unit also experienced the panel in-person. Filmed with the goal of widely sharing youth opinions; the video (as seen above) is now accessible on the government website and ends with a call to action to keep the conversation going about "investments" that youth need and must receive to be successful in the Cayman Islands; and to have a future here.

The Youth Services Unit extends its thanks to the participating teen panelists from: John Gray High School, Triple C School, St. Ignatius High School, Cayman Islands Further Education Center (CIFEC), Layman Scott High School (via CIFEC), Cayman Academy, Cayman Prep & High School, Cayman International School, Clifton Hunter High School and Wesleyan Christian Academy.

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