Alex Panton Foundation seeks ‘youth ambassadors’

| 23/08/2019
CNS Local Life
Alex Panton Foundation committee, actors and volunteers celebrate Hidden premiere as part of organisation’s launch in 2018

(CNS Local Life): The Alex Panton Foundation (APF) is launching the Youth Ambassador Programme (YAP), aimed at promoting interpersonal and life skills, and inspiring friendships among youth in Cayman. An introductory session is scheduled for Saturday, 31 August, from 1pm-4pm at the skate park in Grand Harbour. Students aged 12-16 are welcome to participate.

Dr Erica Lam, clinical consultant of the foundation, which was established in 2018 to raise awareness of mental illnesses affecting children and young adults in the Cayman Islands, explained YAP will consist of a series of sessions and activities related to the various aspects of life skills.

“Participants will advance through the programme and earn badges at each stage by completing the assigned task for that stage,” she told CNS. “This basically works like the Boy and Girl Scouts programme, where the young person earns a badge by completing the events. The programme is ongoing; the more tasks the young person completes the more advanced badges they earn.”

The tasks and activities are designed to help young people learn ways to cope with anxiety, as well as build resilience. The programme will be led by young people themselves but supported by the foundation’s education and clinical committee, so there will be input by APF’s clinical consultants, Dr Lam explained.  

Once the programme is launched and the initial group of young people complete the first stage of activities, they can become ambassadors and the hope is they will then reach out to their peers to invite them to join YAP and thus expand the initiative.

The stated goal of the programme is “to provide support to the youth of Cayman who experience mental health challenges, in particular anxiety and depression, in a way that builds resilience, inspires hope and a ‘way forward.’ YAP hopes to inspire young people to offer peer support with compassion, understanding and active listening.”

The idea is to “validate what young people are experiencing, recognise their strengths and inform and connect them with other resources if needed”.

In addition, participants will have an “opportunity to interact with other young people and collaborate on ideas beyond the programme”.

After the launch, the plan is to host at least two “main events” a year, in the summer and fall, Dr Lam said, where “young people can come together and have a fun day”. In addition, there will be other activities arranged throughout the year.

For more information about the Youth Ambassador Programme as well as APF, go to the Alex Panton Foundation website and Facebook page

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Category: Community, Local News, Medical and Health, Youth

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