The number of youth, I presented last Friday (August 1st) exceeded 35. But before I get into that, let me describe some of the conditions. The ages range between 17-30 years old and a larger portion of the class are females. The youths are apart of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, which holds a gathering every Friday and the youths are lectured by Mrs. Finnegan – the program director. I was curious to see what she had to lecture them about. Before her delivery to the youths, she pulled me aside and told me her tactics of handling them.
“Monika, my way with them is motherly, but not an overly kind and loving mother. I have to be strict and not let them get away with poor behavior. There are particular individuals that I keep my eye on.”
I observed and listened intently as she lectured her youths. Mrs. Finnegan has a way of presenting where she will not allow those selected and misbehaved students out of her range. Her tone is direct, serious and clear-cut. I would like to refer to her method as
“tough love”. It was brilliant to witness how they obeyed her. She did not let one student slip into disrespect, and if one was about to her warning was clear, “I will take $20 off your pay for next week if you mess around”. Some of the young ladies who chit-chat with one another during the lectures, Mrs. Finnegan will set them apart.
So what does Mrs. Finnegan lecture to the youths? Their responsibilities as Belizeans, employees, and adults. She reminds them how privileged they are selected for the program; that their attitudes will have consequences in the program and outside of it; the importance of planning for the future; saving their money, and pulling themselves from the negativity in their lives, more specific, the negative people around them.
A very brilliant woman indeed, and most of her determination comes from the satisfaction she receives when she does get the youths’ attention and sees them progress.
The youth, during Friday’s session.