At 12:05 in the afternoon, on Friday, September 13, 2013 the TALK UP YOUT team led by Emprezz Golding and accompanied by representatives from the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, UNICEF, the National Centre for Youth Development and powered by National Baking Company and Purewater began the journey to the Tivoli Gardens High School for the first stop on the TALK UP YOUT School Tour. The day’s activities began with a panel discussion
moderated by Emprezz with panellists Steppa, Agent Sasco, a teacher at Tivoli Gardens High
School Mr Felton Robinson and five students who represented forms 1 to 5. The beautiful
students of Tivoli Gardens High School welcomed the chance to talk up and raised several
issues without any prompting. The panel discussion spanned an array of issues such as
Gun Violence, Bleaching, Sexual, Physical and Verbal Abuse and Rape, Emotional Pain, Peer
Pressure, Neglect, Juvenile Delinquency, Bullying, Depression, Sex, Teenage Pregnancy, the
distribution of condoms in schools and the negative influences of the media.
The students on the panel spoke confidently and openly of the issues affecting their
communities and Jamaica at large and were able to identify not only the causes of some of
these issues but also possible solutions. Students in the audience were encouraged to highlight
their issues and to comment on the various topics discussed as the afternoon progressed
and some of the more charismatic students gave examples of some of the issues by pointing
out students who were guilty of bullying or bleaching. Emprezz interacted with the students
throughout the discussion reminding them that they are beautiful, strong, intelligent and
confident students who have a voice that must be heard. This led to one student in particular
relating to all present his experience with bleaching and his subsequent termination of the
practice because as he put it “Mi nuh know why mi do it” and another, speaking up quite
emphatically about her opinion of older men who prey on the naivety and materialism of young
Emprezz asked thought-provoking questions which highlighted not only the issues faced
by youths in Jamaica, but also the mental effects that these issues have on students. She
demonstrated correlations between the history of Jamaica and the ills that affect the present
day society. Steppa, known extensively for his creative poems on the TALK UP YOUT show,
spoke of his experiences with juvenile delinquents and encouraged the students to never give
up because they always have a choice. Agent Sasco’s parting message was a call for students
and youths on a whole to take responsibility for themselves and their actions and to exercise
caution in their everyday lives so that they never place themselves in vulnerable positions. The
teacher on the panel reminded students to always remember that their futures are determined
by every choice they make. The students were also given help stickers with important
information on where to get help or advice after which they were treated to performances by
Steppa and Agent Sasco.
The issues highlighted by the students at Tivoli Gardens High School are important to the
Jamaican Society, as we can never truly ameliorate the conditions affecting the nation’s
children until we know what these problems are, and how the youths are affected by them.
Talk Up Yout recognizes the necessity of engaging the young minds of the country in stimulating
and uplifting dialogue thus the Talk Up Yout school tour will visit one school in each parish over
the course of the next 3 months. Webisodes of these visits will be available on social media.
Students at Hopewell High in Hanover, get ready to TALK UP when the Talk Up Yout School Tour comes to you.
Written by Kristeena Monteith
Talk Up Yout School Tour Journalist.
Talk Up Yout
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