On May 17, 2021, a graduation ceremony was held in the Youth Center as a culmination of the 3-month online training, which was attended by 29 youth. The parents of the youth were virtually present via zoom to show their support.
The ACAY team was overjoyed to be welcomed so warmly by the youth and their staff. The youth performed dances, sang, and presented spoken poetry to show their appreciation and the learning they received from the training that ran from March through to May 2021.
Specifically designed for youth in detention, the virtual training center was set up twice a week. The SCP team, along with other ACAY staff and volunteers from various departments worked in collaboration with the house-parents from the center who ensured that the practicalities were functioning well – microphones, whiteboards in place, diagrams drawn at the appropriate time and worksheets handed out.
Self-Awareness sessions were part of the training giving the youth the tools to understand the inner and underlying factors that led them to delinquency and detention. “I became aware of my strengths and weaknesses, which helped me in discovering and understanding myself better.” One of the youth expressed this during the evaluation .
Seeking Safety sessions were also part of the package aiming to provide these young people with new, safe, and positive coping skills to deal with the demands of daily life, so that they do not revert to their old ways or habits once released from the Youth Center.
Another training focused on empowering youth in a variety of ways to reduce aggressive and violent behavior through various Social Skills, Anger Control, and Moral Reasoning. This training also aimed to strengthen their abilities to communicate effectively and manage their emotions, particularly when dealing with potential stress, pressures, and responsibilities.
Finally, there is the Toward Self-Sustainability training, which provides youth with necessary employability skills such as creating a resume. One of the topics covered was Tips on How to Pass a Job Interview. After several sessions, each of the youth had the opportunity to participate in an actual online interview. Some of the interviewers were ACAY volunteers and staff from both the Philippines and France. Almost all of the young people who participated mentioned that this was their first job interview. “This is a memorable training for me, I was nervous at first, but I am very happy to have had the interview,” one of them said.
For the time being, the Second Chance Program continues to provide online training and formation to youths referred by our partner courts. Simultaneously, the team is exploring new ways to promote and advocate for the Online Goal training in other youth centers.