"Free Your Mind" Center
“Free Your Mind” Center is designed to be a place where youths on the North side of Belize can have somewhere to go to release negative energy of the day. It is a center where services will be available such as internet access on computers, printers to print homework, assistance with assignments, movies, games and counselling, Sadly, we do not often see the need to have programs and centers for these youths due to the misconception of being in an area that is of wealth. These youths tend to feel abandoned. The center will be available for youths between the ages of 12-18 years of age. It will be opened from Monday to Saturday, starting at 3:00- 7:00pm. This recreation/educational center can serve as a catalyst for economic, social and holistic development. . I taught youths using creative methods such as art, games, skits, and visual aids, therefore, I want to apply this same method to the center.
- Last name
- At what stage is your proposal?
- Design (Prototype/MVP in development)
- What category/categories do you want to address with your idea?
- Describe the need or problem you want to address
- I have grown up and lived on the North Side of Belize in the Freetown area for all my life. Unfortunately, I have never seen a center dedicated to recreation and educational purposes. My mom became a single parent starting at the beginning stage of my high school years and ongoing. She had to care for myself, my younger brother, a mentally ill grandmother, and the entire household. However, living in my community, meant little to no assistance, and no after school programs or centers. Luckily, I was raised with good morals and values and is a productive member of society. The same cannot be said for everyone. There are many families like mine, with even bigger responsibilities, and children are being neglected due to the demand of workload on the parents. There are also some families with sufficient assets, but because of the parent’s profession, the child is given whatever is asked for and is not cared for properly. Both scenarios put these youths in a vulnerable position, that can later lead to peer pressure and delinquent behavior. Therefore, a recreational/educational center is needed to provide social and equity benefits for community members. Children are constantly looking for stimuli and influencers to stare them on the right path. Some youths need extra attention because they learn differently. The center offers a judgement free zone and focuses on getting the youths engaged within the community and expressing themselves without the added stress.
- What is the main product or service you will offer?
- Having worked with many youths before, including inmates at the Wagner’s Youth Facility, it gave me an insight to the possibilities of why they engage in unlawful and/or rebellious behavior. I also realized that a delinquent youth does not always stem from poverty. The youths in my neighborhood need a center that they can go to after school, to vent about their day, engage in recreation, and to receive mentorship and assistance with schoolwork if needed. At times, children may be doing poorly in school because they may not have the resources that are required to produce passing marks. Juvenile criminal rates can decrease up to 25% when a community has a recreational/educational center for youths to attend. A center gives them a safe place to play, be productive, communicate, and stay off the streets. The center also increases retention rates, create bonds within the center, expands cultural diversity, and reduces stress and anxiety for the child and family. Last, but not least, there can be an immediate boost of self-esteem at the center. Focusing on a youth’s mental health and social setting should be priority. The center aims to have a controlled and respectful environment where everyone should be equal to treatment and using services. The center will also provide water and healthy snacks to help with attention span of the youths.
- Briefly describe the community or population that will benefit from your solution and how do you plan to involve them in the project
- I am aiming to open a center on the Northside of Belize in the Freetown area, and as time and sponsors come on board, I can expand to different areas within the community. Freetown, the westernmost constituency on Northside, is home to the Belama, Coral Grove, Buttonwood Bay and Vista Del Mar suburbs. It also extends up to around the former Belize Technical College area. I plan to get volunteers, or workers that require a small stipend to assist with functioning of the center, and documentation of daily activities and visitors. Volunteers would include youths who possess leadership qualities, that would be rewarded for good behavior.
- Does your proposal have a business model (i.e. strategy to generate revenue)? Please describe
- Being an ambassador of Digi, the largest phone company in Belize, I make proposals for sponsorship for various projects. In September 2019, Digi was a proud sponsor for a Care package project that I planned to gift the youths of Wagner’s Youth Facility. They also provided free internet services for the boys to use for educational purposes. This project was approximately worth $3000. I will sustain/generate revenue through sponsorship like these and grants for NGO’s. As time goes by, and a better understanding of the center is developed, fund raising can also happen, that include the youths that attend the center.
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