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January 23, 2014
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OCR seeks child ambassadors

The Office of the Children's Registry (OCR) is searching for primary and high school students to take up positions as child ambassadors islandwide, for the period 2014 to 2016.

Launched in 2012, the Child Ambassadors Programme is one of the OCR's main initiatives aimed at involving youngsters in the fight against child abuse.

Interested persons can download application forms from the OCR's website at www.ocr.gov.jm, or they can visit the agency's headquarters at 12 Carlton Crescent, Kingston 10, or any of its parish offices. The completed forms should be returned to the agency's head office or any of its parish offices by February 6.

seventh anniversary

Speaking at the OCR's seventh anniversary church service held on Sunday at Bethel United Church, Kingston, registrar of the OCR, Greig Smith, said that there were nine child ambassadors in the six education regions.

"Our hope is to have at least one child ambassador in each parish by later this year. We have found it quite impactful when children communicate these messages (against child abuse) to both their peers and to adults," he pointed out.

Smith said the programme has been fully incorporated into the OCR's public-education campaign aimed at increasing awareness among the youth, about child abuse, and encouraging them to report incidents.

"The ambassadors will also form school clubs as an avenue to deliver the OCR messages from one child to another and participate in decision-making and other public-education initiatives," he said. Public-education specialist at the OCR, Julia Smiley-Green, told JIS News that students must be between the ages of 10 and 16 years in order to apply for the two-year programme.

"So, it means that if the child will be 18 years before the end of May 2016, he or she will not be eligible to apply for the programme," she pointed out.

Smiley-Green said the programme is mainly for children who are "bold, not afraid to talk up, and are able to do presentations on child abuse and help spread our messages".

She said applicants will be asked to assist with the OCR's public-education activities such as the creation of flyers and public-service announcements as well as educating their peers about what they can do to protect themselves and what they need to do if they suspect or know of cases of child abuse.

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