Speech by Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs delivered at the launch of the Youth Desk

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The period of Adolescence is a time of dramatic change. With it comes puberty, expanded cognitive abilities, a new sense of self and identity, and often, new and increased challenges.

These challenges can and will alter the relationships with parents and peers, so it is necessary to have the right type of mechanism in place for our youth to fall back on, whenever it is necessary. So please join me in officially launching the St. Maarten's Youth Desk.

The absence of such a mechanism (A youth Desk) in St. Maarten in today's busy society , work against what parents, guardians and many in our community, are struggling to achieve; "the wellbeing of our Youths".

Having the youth desk in place, we should be able to control the negative outcomes of situations our youths experience during adolescence.

We are hoping that with such a structure in place, we will be able to control delinquency, school dropouts, and teenage pregnancy besides other unfortunate-situations.
In an effort to prevent such negative outcomes, the youth desk, will seek to help empower St. Maarten's Youth, providing the necessary support for social, emotional, spiritual & physical competence.

It should serve as a safety net for when things go wrong in their world.
It very important for us to provide the necessary tools for our youths to nurture their abilities keenly geared towards achieving personal goals, and embracing the feeling of success.
It is imperative for our youths to be able to engage in healthy social interaction, while at the same time maintaining positive relationships, despite their challenging situations and encounters.

Again, we hope to achieve this via the St. Maarten's Youth Desk.

The Youth Desk will be providing exciting interactions with other youths around the world. There will be info sessions, seminars, and varying projects to stimulate and inspire their young minds.

They will be able to use the youth desk to gather various type of information to help them with school based projects and even information that they might require to solve a problem or issue. They will also be able to make good use of the local media, and social-media so that their voices can be heard.

With the Youth Desk having been established, we are optimistic of reaching the goal of better understanding our adolescents and fostering good communities.

This venture should help important institutions like our schools, our churches and the community at large to develop a new breed of identity conscious and responsible youths.

I hereby call for the support of our communities at large, let us all engage our youth by helping Our Ministry, Youth Affairs to promote this new venture so that we can stimulate good family values and win back our society.

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