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Group put me on right path, says youth


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A young man gave testimony last weekend on how the Drug Education Counselling Services (DECS) had changed his life.Ricardo Marshall, a former participant in the programme, told the audience yesterday at the Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church how the DECS had changed his life and put him on the correct path for success.Marshall at the time was speaking during the DECS 6th Anniversary and Awards Celebration at the church located at Tudor Bridge, St Michael.He likened himself to many of today’s youth who found themselves in situations that were not always positive, but said thanks to the DECS he had become more focused on his goals, and had put that wayward path behind him.“I have now been baptised for two years and the Lord is doing wonderful things for my life,” said Marshall, who also announced that he was this year’s St Peter Parish Ambassador.Founder and chairman of the DECS, Roger Husbands, said the organisation started in 2004 when he decided to work with young people in an effort to help them curb their habits in the early.He said over 350 people had entered the programme over the years, but the foundation, which helped young people  to deal with a range of issues including drugs, alcohol and anger management, now had 80 clients.Minister of Education Ronald Jones, who was invited to speak at the event, urged the audience to embrace young people and do not turn their backs on them.“We have to reach out and embrace others who may not have the strengths that we have, because sometimes due to that lack of courage to say no, they fall victims to the illicit scourges of drugs and such likes,” he said.Jones said the challenge was to call on Barbadians to the task of lifting young people up, since he was confident that all was not lost.“All our young people are not bad, but some are challenged and we have to do our best to help those ones,” he said.Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development and Culture Shirley Farnum, who delivered the speech for minister Steve Blackett in his absence, said prevention programmes like these were critical to society.“It is a problem being faced by society as a whole, and we must accept that we have a collective responsibility to be more vigilant in recognising when young people are vulnerable and at high risk for engaging in unfavourable activities” she said. (CT)