“Revival Everywhere Saving Children Unto Eternity”
Operation R.E.S.C.U.E. is a four-points intervention strategic plan to transform the lives of children and youths in Jamaica who are at risk.
Addressing the Roots of Youth Violence
Jamaica is in a very serious crisis when it comes to children and youths. The level of crime and violence being perpetrated by our children and youths is very unacceptable and until we understand and address the root factors which lead to violence and other anti-social behaviors, we will never solve the problems.
It is hard to understand the cold and callous attitudes of many of the youths until we understand the risk factors that foster the mindset which causes them act in the manner in which they do.
Any attempt to solve the problems must focus on these inappropriate and negative mindsets and come up with ways to change them. It’s only then that we will be able to begin to make a difference.
So, let’s look at some of these risk factors which are fostering the negatives mindsets and then come up with solutions which will bring about lasting changes.
These are some of the risk factors which are present among our children and youths
- They have a deep sense alienation and low self-esteem.
- They have little empathy for others and suffer from impulsivity.
- They believe that they are oppressed, held down, unfairly treated and neither belong to nor have a stake in the broader society.
- They have no sense of hope
- They believe that they have no way to be heard through other channels.
When it comes to risk factors, there are many youths who are experiencing these factors, however, they don’t end up becoming violent and anti-social because appropriate interventions strategies are put in place to mitigate these risk factors. These risk factors are compounded by the presence of root factors; hence it is important to be aware of some of these roots which are fertile grounds to breed violence. (Roots of Violence Report)
What Are the Roots?
Poverty does not directly cause violent crimes, but poverty without hope, poverty
with isolation, poverty with hunger and poor living conditions, poverty with racism
and poverty with daily reminders of social exclusion can lead to the immediate risk
factors for violence. (Roots of Violence Report)
2) Issues in the education system
Education is universally seen as one of the best ways out of poverty and as a sound
investment in the future of individuals, families and communities, and thus in the
social fabric of our entire society. (Roots of Violence Report)
3) Family issues
Most families provide secure and safe places for children to grow and learn. But
many do not. Families can be divided, abusive or struggling emotionally or financially. Some youths have no family. Without the support of strong families, alienation, low self-esteem, lack of hope or empathy, impulsivity and other immediate risk factors for involvement with violence can set in and take hold of a young person. A severely troubled home life can have a damaging effect on a youth’s interest in School, ability to learn and interactions with peers and teachers. (Roots of Violence Report)
Mental health is an often overlooked, but very significant issue for youths. Of course, the majority of young people who experience mental health issues are not involved in violence, but the consequences for them and their families can be serious. (Roots of Violence Report)
5) Lack of youth voice
The sense that many youths already have of being alienated from society is
reinforced when they do not have opportunities to be heard in areas that directly
immediately affect their lives. This can lead to a negative concept of self, greater
distrust of authority, a sense of powerlessness and a sense of exclusion from the
broader community. (Roots of violence Report)
6) Lack of economic opportunities for youths.
There are many barriers for youth from disadvantage communities who seek
opportunities. Many youths lack role models to inspire them or people who can help them prepare for an interview or deal with the early weeks on the job site. Others have been conditioned to believe that they have little to offer, or learn all too early that their postal code alone will act as a bar to employment.
Many youths are frustrated and angered by their inability to support themselves or
their families and when these and other factors are combined with the high value our society place on economic success and possessions, the consequences for self-
esteem and any sense of hope, opportunity or belonging can be serious. (Roots of
Addressing the Roots
Acceptance and belonging are two of the most basic needs of every person
and they are essential to our feelings of well-being and contribute to our ultimate
success. A closer look at all the roots of violence reveals that the consistent
thread that links them together is the word “rejection”.
Instead of feeling accepted, many of these youths believe that they have been
abandoned by the rest of society and their actions are an attempt to survive in a
society which seems to have no regard for them.
Hence, the first order of business is to give these children and youths a sense of
belongings and this is the responsibility of every adult in society, starting with the
parents at home.
The comprehensive needs of all children and youths must take priority and all
efforts must be made collaboratively by parents, government, churches, schools,
civic organizations, private businesses, individual citizens and other
stakeholders to ensure that the finances and resources are available so that
every child will be able to avail themselves of the opportunity to reach their
potential in life and become responsible citizens on the world stage.
Four Points Intervention Strategy
1) Raising children to succeed workshops
This workshop can to done online or face to face and it’s designed to
give parents and caring adults who are desirous of mentoring children
and youths the required knowledge and skills to build meaningful
relationship with them. It is chocked full of information, all based in the
scientific literature and it will help the participants to transform the lives
of their children and youths.
2) The School of Success
The “school of success”; will provide a success framework for children
and youths who are at risk and was developed in Canada by Frank S.D.
Alexander B.A, M.Ed.
The program looks at the six critical areas for success:
1. Faith-the foundation of success
2. Family-the cornerstone of success
3. Career– Source of meaningful and productive work
4. Learning styles and work habits-Functional real-world skills
5. Civic and Social Responsibility– We must leave the world a better
place than we found it.
6. Results-Setting goals and accomplishing them
Dr John Trent and Gary Smalley are bestselling authors of the book, ‘The
Blessing” which discussed the need of every child to be loved unconditionally
and accepted. This is necessary for the spiritual, psychological and physical
well-being of every person, but unfortunately many people have not experienced
this and it has caused them to drift through life without a sense of meaning and
The blessing consists of a powerful message written out the caring adults in the
child’s life and this is read to them in a special ceremony. This concept is rooted
in the scriptures and these ceremonies are still being practiced by the Jews with
phenomenal results. The elements of the blessing are five-fold:
- Meaningful and appropriate touch
- A spoken message
- Attaching a high value to the one being blessed
- Picturing a special future for him/her
- An active commitment to fulfill the blessing
In many cultures, this ceremony is called the rights of passage which lays the
foundation for success in adulthood. Monetary gifts are given to the child which
is saved until he/she is of the age to enter university or some form of vocational
pursuits. The message is printed out and given to the child and this serves as a
powerful reminder of the fact that they are special and that they have a bright
future. This is very much lacking among our children and youths and many
times, instead of being blessed, they have been cursed and devalued and this
has contributed to their poor performances in life. It’s time for us the turn the
tides and positively influence the life of our children and youths for time and
This is one of the most critical aspects in the growth and development of
every child. Many children and youths are growing up in homes and
communities where there are no positive role models.
They have nobody to help them to navigate the challenges of life and they are
prone to making wrong decisions which leads them down a path of destruction.
Having caring adults in their lives who are readily available to engage them in
the critical areas of their lives will ultimately lead to successful outcomes.
Mentorship can be done through social media platforms and the critical areas of
success can be discussed on an ongoing basis.
When even one caring adult unconditionally accepts a young person and
communicates a belief in his or her potential, a sense of acceptance is
fostered in the child which in turn leads to an increase in self-esteem and
When this happens, here are the possible outcomes for that child:
- Higher academic achievement
- Less substance abuse
- Less violent behavior
- Better relationships with parents and peers
- Better school performance
- Higher level of self-understanding
- Better psychological adjustment
- Fewer conduct disorder
- A more positive self-image
- Heightened interpersonal skills
- Better adjustment and coping with ADHD
- An overall improvement in psychological well-being, level of functioning and quality of life. (Just one Adult can make a difference, Dr. Katherine Wolkow)
The report concluded that this information is substantial enough to
warrant the development of wide-scale, community-based strategies that
will allow us to more effectively serve the many vulnerable children and
adolescents in our communities