Education Minister Supports Boys’ Mentorship Programme

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Boyz2Men Founder Mr. Christopher Murray, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Boyz2Men Director Mr. Seaford Russell Jr. and Coordinating Officer Mr. Simon Miller.

The following is a press release from the Ministry of Education:

Boyz2MEN programme board members Christopher Murray, Seaford Russell Jr. and Simon Miller recently completed a six-week certificate course at Stanford University, having received funding assistance from the Minister for Education.

“I am pleased that I was able to provide support to the Boyz2Men programme, which for several years has played an integral role in the lives of so many of our boys, enabling them to grow and flourish into productive members of the society. I wholeheartedly congratulate the three board members on the successful completion of their course of study.

Their newly acquired knowledge will undoubtedly allow them to provide increased mentorship for a number of our vulnerable and at-risk male students as they overcome issues, including drug addiction, that they may encounter as they navigate their adolescent years,” Education Minister, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly stated.

The members of the Boyz2Men executive, who received their certificates in Psychology of Addiction and Recovery just in time for World Recovery Month in September, expressed their gratitude to the Minister for the opportunity to further develop their skillsets.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the team sponsored by the Ministry to study the Psychology of Addiction and Recovery at Stanford,” said Murray, who founded the John Gray High School-based programme in 2009. “I am hoping to pour into others what I’ve learned.”

Also thanking the Minister for her contribution, Coordinating Officer Simon Miller added, “The Stanford experience exceeded my learning expectations. I enjoyed the interdisciplinary collaborations and the applied research methods. Best of all, the conversation was relevant to the needs of our islands.’

His colleague, Programme Director Seaford Russell Jr, who shared a similar view, described the opportunity as a way to ‘give back to our youth, thereby broadening their understanding of addiction which seems to be increasing by the day in our Islands’.

The online course available to health and care professionals such as social workers, recovery coaches, and mental health counsellors provides learners with an understanding of addiction and insights into various approaches to recovery.

In the National Drug Council’s 2020 Student Drug Use Survey, a combined total of 3,478 students from private and public schools were questioned about their drug usage. Of that number, 44.4%, or 1,530 students, said alcohol was their number one drug of choice. The next most popular drug was e-cigarettes, or vapes, according to 29%, or 1,000 students.

According to the national survey on drug use and health, people who use substances before the age of 12 are more likely to experience a severe mental illness, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, compared to those who first use marijuana at age 18 or older.

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