Youth Reports

Conference 2002 - World Youth Forum Reports



Andre Gordon Youth Support Forum 2002


Alesia Walker


World Youth Forum  - Omar Richards


Joseph Buchanan


Jodian Grindley


Andre Gordon Youth Support youth forum 2002

Each day we turn a new page in the book of life and it is way you live your life which determines what goes on those pages, Even though sometimes life takes you places to give you a better understanding of the people in the world. The youth support forum held in London in October was one filled with important knowledge and yet much fun. The relationships formed in the one week were priceless and the experiences gain will be treasured, in situations like this you don’t know where to tart because every aspect is so interesting, by virtue of this I will start at the beginning. The journey to England was smooth especially since my Jamaican counter parts are good travelling partners. Even though I did not know my peers in the begging
with the exception of Jodi and Omar, the other people I did not know were very friendly and before we left Jamaica we were all friends. I really enjoyed the first two days of touring, London is a beautiful city and having the honour of touring it was to my delight. The Italians and the Americans are nice to be around even though in the case of the Italians language barrier was a factor, therefore I did not get to know much of them because they spoke little  English and I understand little Spanish and no Italian.
The presentations on the first day were quite good and the information transmitted was well received. I found the presentation about the adolescent development interesting since I am a teenager and many of the issues affecting adolescent either affect me or my peer therefore it is important that I am educated. The issues of sexual identity was discussed again important knowledge was gain, I was able to understand gender identity issues which come up in  other cultures.

The idea of having workshops was an ingenious one and Doctor Birch and her team must be commended for it. The workshops were very interesting, the one on crime and violence taught me a lot about crime and violence in schools in other countries and I was able to share about what takes place in some Jamaican schools. The other workshop, which I enjoyed, was the acting workshop headed by Leila, I enjoyed learning the basics of acting and the other members of the team were just great.

The presentation on the effects of Tobacco smoking was very informative information obtained
includes learning that there were 4000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and also about the short or long term effects of the habit.

Overall presentations were good and the much needed information was well received.


YOUTH SUPPORT - Conference report Alesia Walker - Scholarship winner.

Today’s youth are constantly fighting battles; they fight with their families, figures of authority and society in general. To add to this they also have internal conflicts, which often seem life threatening and impossible to resolve. Adolescents are always seeking new knowledge of themselves their potential and talents. However society does not always provide the resources necessary, for them to realise their full potential. This lack of efficient resources often leaves our young people to wonder who cares for, or is even aware of their existence.

The week of October 20th -27th proved as one where the voices of young people from all different parts of the world were heard. We were given a unique opportunity to express our views thoughts and feelings. We were allowed to share our experiences, talents and personalities with persons from different cultures racial and religious backgrounds. The young people who were part of this seminar were reassured that society was in fact interested in us as young people and did actually want to see us learn and grow. Dr Diana Birch, who hosted the seminars and also paid the way of many delegates, was greatly appreciated as she made our week possible. There were also a number of speakers present at the seminars and they all presented on some very controversial issues which we all enjoyed being apart of. The 2002 youth conference was held at the Barbican centre in London. The participating countries included Italy, England, America and of course Jamaica. The seminars were for young people who had difficult life experiences, which they had eventually overcome, as well young people who were counsellors trying to find new ways of helping troubled youths.

Our week began with a tour of London; we explored this beautiful city for two glorious days and visited some of its most historical monuments. Among the many places we saw were: Buckingham palace, London bridge and London Eye. The next three days of our week in London found us at the Barbican centre where our conference began. We had highly intellectual speakers who covered a wide variety of topics. Topics covered included: the media influence on young people, teenage pregnancies, street children, sex education and family life. The topics discussed at the seminars were very enlightening we came to understand that issues such as teenage pregnancies and the street children problem do not only affect our little island but are also major concerns for other countries such as south Africa which constantly fight against these growing problems. Our discussions helped us to identify some of the major problems faced by young people in today’s society.  Amongst the problems identified were poverty and poor family structure

Poverty has always plagued society; it is like a hereditary disease, which passes from generation to generation until it finally affects the larger society. When our young people are born and raised in poverty-stricken environments; they often grow up without an education and sometimes without a skill and therefore they are forced to survive with whatever low paying jobs are available. However the majority is usually left unemployed and often times they turn to criminal activities.

Another problem facing our young people discussed at the conference was family life. Family is the most important social group in society. It is where we are first taught the norms of society and how to survive in our environments. The role of the family seems however to have been misunderstood and instead of making our present situation better it has in fact contributed to worsening the situation. We have come to understand that with society’s constant financial problems it is almost impossible for the single income family to survive, and parents if present can hardly make time for the rearing of their children, hence we have the television supervising and parenting. The present family structure simply will not do if we intend to make a change in our society. We need to get back to the basics, to where it took the whole village to raise a child and when parents took an interest in their offspring and when parents were not themselves children looking for love.

 The sessions we had in London truly opened our eyes, we were forced to see that things as they are, are not good and that the present world, in which we live, is not a place we would enjoy making children of our own. We realized that we as young people need to make a change; we need to take matters into our own hands and fix all that has gone wrong. We also realize that we couldn’t make an attempt for change on our own. Some may say we need the government and while the help of the government may be necessary, I believe that our greatest help comes from the Lord hence society needs to get back to praying, we need to seek the face of God so He can give us vision to make a change and the strength to carry it through.


Alesia Walker


A note from Alesia  - I must express my gratitude for the amazing opportunity you offered us all as young people . You gave us a chance to express ourselves and share our talents with people from all parts of the world, you reminded us that someone did actually care. THere is something very special and very sincere about your efforts that gives me more encouragement to persue my own dream of becoming a psychologist and makes me want to give all that I can give to human kind.

I learned a lot at the conference, but the most important lesson I learned while in London was that of giving and sharing love with each person I came in contact with, since LOVE truly does conquer all.  I dont want to spend the whole night writing so let me end by telling you how very special you are and how very thankful I am to you. Please continue to do what you do best , loving and giving of yourself - one life saved is enough reason to smile. God bless you.



World Youth Forum  - Omar Richards Tivoli    -  Gardens High School

Omar won a Scholarship for his rap poem on Suicide.


World Youth Forum which was held at the Barbican Centre in London October 23rd -25th


2002 which was hosted by Dr Diana Birch and the Youth Support team has place a special impact on the lives of many including my self. I am indeed grateful for the opportunity given to me by Dr Birch to come to London for the youth conference based on observation of my poem on suicide. Going on this trip is one of the biggest opportunity been granted to me, to travel from Jamaica to London England, reason of is the biggest opportunity because I have never travel before, and thus has open a lot of doors for me, going on this conference help me to have a more developed leadership skill.

This trip help me to be realistic with people who speak different languages. Italians to share things that you wouldn’t think to share personally, to give your view without fear, favour or partiality. To be able to see another side of the world how they dress, walk, talk. To enjoy and accept other dishes to feel vital uplifted and spirit filled with joy to meet new friends, that may lead to long lasting friendship, to experience to broaden your knowledge, to tour and to create an atmosphere of togetherness to visit historic sights and to sail to new heights.

I would like for others to be able to attend the conference being put on by Dr Birch and her team every other year to be able to taste the real side of exploring and bring things they had only dreamed to realty.

My God continue to bless Dr Birch and the Youth Support team.


Report Written by

Omar C. Richards


Re World Youth Conference 2002

October 31st 2002


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