Involving youth in disaster risk reduction is creating a new generation of community-minded young people with the skills to engage in other development opportunities.
As youth from neighboring communities have begun to work with one another, the barriers created by a culture of violence have begun to break down. “Most people from Seivwright don’t want to go to Riverton,” participant Joy Stevens explained.
“But when we’re in our Ranger T-shirts, we can go anywhere in Jamaica.” And the next time disaster strikes, these young people will be prepared to answer the call, equipped not only with new skill sets and a sense of commitment but also with firsthand knowledge of local communities and the trust of their neighbors.
As participant Denelia Davis suggested to the Fourth Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, “Adults can be stuck in their ways, while youth are by nature more open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.”
They are also in a position to influence not only their friends and their families but also younger generations of children.
St. Patrick's Rangers was borne out of the experience of the St. Patrick's Foundation working with youth-at-risk and recognition of two key factors:
These factors created the opportunity for the formation of a group of volunteers, the St. Patrick's Rangers, who could serve their communities through training in disaster risk reduction management. The program was so successful that it was replicated in St. Lucia, Dominican Republic and Grenada. Today, St. Patrick's Rangers is one of Jamaica's premier youth led and youth focused organizations working with youths to make their communities more disaster resilient.
We invite you to join us in making our communities more disaster resilient. Support our programs, and support our youth.