‘Let’s Talk: Don’t Walk’

Pro­gramme launched to tackle prob­lem of chil­dren run­ning away

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Jodi Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer jodi-ann.gilpin@glean­erjm.com

RECOG­NIS­ING THAT some chil­dren en­counter tu­mul­tuous sit­u­a­tions at home, Betty Ann Blaine, co-founder of Hear the Chil­dren’s Cry, has said that she still wanted them to con­sider op­tions other than run­ning away.

In shar­ing de­tails about the new ‘Run­away Pre­ven­tion Pro­gramme’, which op­er­ates un­der the slo­gan, ‘Let’s Talk : Don’t Walk’, Blaine in­di­cated that a ma­jor part of the ini­tia­tive was to fo­cus on the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with run­ning away, in ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing av­enues through which chil­dren could ex­press them­selves. She also said that a cru­cial part of the pro­gramme would be the in­tro­duc­tion of on­line coun­selling.

“We know that chil­dren who are con­sid­er­ing run­ning away don’t have a run­away plan for the most part. So when they run away, they have ab­so­lutely no idea where they are go­ing to stay, where they are go­ing to live. They don’t know how and what they will eat. They don’t have ad­e­quate cloth­ing, and they don’t know how they are go­ing to sur­vive,” Blaine told the gather­ing dur­ing the launch of the pro­gramme at the Yello Me­dia Group Cor­po­rate Of­fices in St Andrew.

“We want them (chil­dren) to be aware of the haz­ards of run­ning away. We know that life at home can be re­ally hard and chal­leng­ing for chil­dren,” Blaine ar­gued. “But we want chil­dren to know and un­der­stand that when you leave home, it is 100 per cent worse. You be­come even more vul­ner­a­ble than when you are at home. So, the mes­sage that we want to tell the chil­dren is to speak to a trusted adult,” she con­tin­ued.

The chil­dren’s rights advocate also said that while she was happy that the miss­ing chil­dren fig­ures were showing a de­crease, she was still con­cerned that many cases went un­re­ported.

In en­dors­ing the ini­tia­tive, Ever­ton Han­nam, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Par­ent Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said that he was equally pas­sion­ate about the ‘Run­away Pre­ven­tion Pro­gramme’, and would be do­ing all that was nec­es­sary to get the par­ents in­volved.

“I want to take the time to com­mend the many par­ents who are do­ing out­stand­ing work with their chil­dren; but, equally, there are those par­ents who are law­less and ruth­less, and are cre­at­ing may­hem in the so­ci­ety – those will be our fo­cus.”

BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER RU­DOLPH

From left: Tshani JaJa, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing for Yello Me­dia Group, with Ra­mario Rick­etts of Ex­cel­sior High and Betty Ann Blaine, founder of Hear the Chil­dren’s Cry, in con­ver­sa­tion at the Hear The Chil­dren’s Cry and the Yello Me­dia Spe­cial Child Month 2018 launch of their run­away pre­ven­tion pro­gramme ‘Let’s Talk; Don’t Walk’. The cer­e­mony was held at Yello Me­dia Group’s Con­stant Spring Road of­fices on Wed­nes­day.

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