Among the longstanding characteristics of Barbuda is the absence of afterschool activities for the youth. Currently, there are little sustainable, structured programs to expose the youth to sports, recreation, creative arts, the environment, climate change, biodiversity and conservation. Efforts to introduce such programs have been normally twinned to the schools, during school hours and largely dependent on the teaching fraternity or imported short-term specialists from Antigua. The end result has often been short- term activities without sustainable programs for the youth. The evacuation of the entire island post-hurricane Irma and the exposure to large numbers of Barbudan youth to afterschool programs during their stay for several months in Antigua has kindled a strong desire for similar activities. The need for such programs is also viewed by international experts as critical to the mental health and general quality of life of any community. The existence of such extra-curricular programs is critical to the mental health and holistic development of our youth and the general quality of life of any community. It is in an effort to fill this gaping void in our community and to satisfy the needs of our youth that the Barbuda Youth Afterschool Centre was conceptualized. The Afterschool Centre caters to the needs of up to 20 – 30 young people, ages 6 to 12 years old, 5 afternoons weekly from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, in its first year of operation.
Through the operation of this Centre the participants will be afforded:
- Exposure to a mixture of activities led by trained personnel
Education and awareness on the environment, climate change, biodiversity and conservation
- A safe haven to foster and nurture the creative spirit of the youth; to cultivate training sessions to positively impact the mental health of the youth
- Opportunities to identify and develop natural talents, so that children may become creative arts and/or sports-oriented