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Extend it to pre-school
Former US Secretary of State General Colin Powell (retired) says he is impressed by Government’s efforts to make the National Mentoring Programme a success. He made the statement yesterday in his feature address at the launch of the programme at the National Academy of the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain. Powell is the founder of America’s Promise Alliance, a US-based, non-profit organisation that helps change the lives of children.
Powell said: “With all our (America) wealth, we still have children who live in poverty and are hungry.” He encouraged T&T business leaders, present at the launch, to get involve in the programme and to encourage their employees to do the same. He added: “These young people are going to be your future workers and customers. You will be investing in your businesses and the future of society. “The US has five per cent of the world’s population and also 25 per cent of the world’s prison population.
“Somewhere along the way, when there was the opportunity to shape these persons, they found bad mentors. like drugs and gangs.” He said the only way to break that cycle was to get involved in children’s lives at a young age. Powell, a self professed success story of mentoring by his parents, suggested to the Government that it extended the reach of the programme to include children in pre-school and kindergarten. Currently, the programme is aimed at young people with a limited support system, aged between nine to 25 years old, who were referred by teachers, principals and school guidance officers. “You (T&T citizens) have a responsibility as adults to make this a sustainable programme by participating and getting involved,” he said.
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