Workshop for Teen Parents Hosted at St. James YIC

Date Published: 
Friday, June 16, 2017

Seventeen young parents (including one teen father) were recently engaged through the St. James Youth Information Centre, as the YIC sought to build their capacity for quality parenting. Youth Empowerment Officer Damian Green explained that through the workshop, participants examined some of the challenges associated with parenting, and were provided with best practices for overcoming these challenges. 

Youth Empowerment Officer, Mr. Damian Green and Mrs. Roxanne Williams Hamilton, Regional Career Development Officer with the Ministry of Labour & Social Security 

Support for the initiative was provided by Mrs. Stacian Winter-Thomas, Manager at the Restorative Justice Centre. Mrs. Winter-Thomas led a Parenting Skills 101 session. Mrs. Stacey-Anne Whittingham-Tucker, a psychologist from the Community Seurity and Justice Programme (CSJP), built on this information through her session on "Strategies for Effective Parenting". 

Throughout the workshop, communication emerged as a critical parenting skill. Mr. Mark Mullings from the Restorative Justice Centre guided the participants through "Conflict and Communcation". Shavone Smith from the 4H Ambassadors for Change further examined "Road Blocks to Communication" with the participants. The young parents were provided with tips for building a postive parent-child relationship, with good communication identified as the key for enabling mutual respect and healthy famliy relationships.

Teen parents are often faced with managing a busy schedule, including job responsibilities, school, household duties and raising their children. These demands can result in stress, with stress decreasing the quality of the parent-child relationship. Against this background, Neika Grey, a Social Work intern from the Montego Bay Community College facilitated a session on "Stress Management for the 21st Century Parent". Building resilience was also a key part of the parenting workshop, with Constable Hilette Virgo from the Jamaica Constabulary Force showing participants how to build their support system, and cope with the challenges of parenting.


Ms. T'Shura Gibbs, Regional Director -JPS West, and President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce made a special presentation to the young parents as she shared her own experiences as a teen mother. The engaging presentation brought together the various topics explored through the workshop, with real examples of some of the challenges and coping strategies being discussed. 

Ms. T’Shura Gibbs, Regional Director-JPS West & President of Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce; connects with participants by sharing with them her experiences as a teen mother.


All participants expressed their gratitude for the initiative, which was seen to better position them to build a stong parent-child bond, while balancing their educational and career pursuits. 

A number of additional initiatives for youth can be accessed through the St. James Youth Information Centre, located at 1 Humber Avenue in Montego Bay.