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May 28, 2014
Star News


Yallahs Baptist Church Computer Outreach Centre opens
Jolyn Bryan, Star Writer

The Yallahs Baptist Church Computer Outreach Centre was officially opened last week in a short ceremony held at the church in St Thomas.

The centre, organised through collaboration between the Violence Prevention Alliance of Jamaica (VPA) and the church, offers a computer-based literacy programme, Learning Net-works, to at-risk youth in the Yallahs district.

Initially offered to at-risk males between the ages 15 and 24, the Learning Net-works is now tailored to suit the needs of persons of all ages struggling with literacy and numeracy. The VPA, based at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, takes a unique approach to violence prevention, advocating for an 'injury-free' lifestyle and working closely with the Ministry of Health to promote physical and mental health and well-being.

Pastor Brenda Walker, administrator and reverend, explained that the programme was very important to the church and to the volunteers who made it possible, as it was a part of their worship and an expression of their love for God and fellow men.

With equipment procured through a grant from the Universal Service Fund (formerly the Universal Access Fund), volunteers at the centre work with students from various schools in the area, as well as those enrolled on the A-Step programme of the Ministry of Education.

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, who also attended the launch, revealed that billions were being spent each year in the health sector to treat violence-induced injury.

The Yallahs Primary and Aelous Valley All-Age School send several groups to the centre, and marked improvement has begun to be noticed in the behaviour and demeanour of the children.

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