Commissioner of Youth Affairs Maria Buncamper-Molanus agrees with motivational speaker Jeff Johnson on many crucial points pertaining to young people, but stressed on one is particular: everyone needs to stop complaining and pointing fingers and fulfill individual roles in the community and to the youth.
"I agree 100% with Mr. Johnson, who clearly has experience with the subject, that we have to stop devoting what little time we have to blaming each other and placing fault to explain why some of our youth are they way they are," the Commissioner said.
Buncamper-Molanus added that Johnson re-emphasized what many people on St. Maarten seems to know, but what too many still dismiss on a regular basis. "The main responsibility lies with the parents. Schools, government, churches, organizations can all do what they can. But if whatever is being done by all others is not supported by the parents first, then all these efforts will not have the desired effects."
Additionally, she added, Johnson emphasized that the organizations could probably do more. "He gave examples like why are churches only open a few days a week for their own programs, and why not offer their facilities to the public for budgeting classes and the like or any type of courses that could be helpful to the community," she said.
In this context, Buncamper-Molanus mentioned the possibly of schools being put to better use when they are close for regular classes. "Why are we spending so much money on renting facilities for afterschool programs when we have schools that are empty for a large part of the day for example. We can make better use of our resources."
According to Johnson, the business community also has a role to play since the youth are their future consumers and how they are nurtured involves everyone in the community, including the businesses. "The employers could organize lunch courses for their employees. Employees who can’t make it to parent meetings and other courses that are held during evening hours. These lunch courses could focus on budgeting, parenting and other self-improvement courses. I encourage and will support any such initiative once properly organized and structured. The results can only be a benefit to this community," the Commissioner said.
Buncamper-Molanus had high praise for the UJIMA Foundation and the work they continue to do for troubled youth. She said the responses from parents who have a child at UJIMA have been extremely positive thus far. UJIMA definitely have an important place in this community. They have shown that they can make positive impacts in the lives of troubled young people," she concluded.