The Mirrors Programme 2014 Welcome Home Ceremony
Ministerial Statement to the House of Assembly
By The Hon. R. Wayne Scott, J.P., M.P.
Minister of Community, Culture and Sports
Friday 28th November 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to share with my Honourable colleagues the exhilarating experience that was the 2014 Mirrors Welcome Home Ceremony on Sunday November 23rd 2014. I say experience rather than event since nearly all the attendees including participants, committed partners, volunteers, Mirrors staff, parliamentarians, family and friends were transformed by the powerful testimonies of the young men and women who moved to a new phase of their lives.
Mr. Speaker, Last week the Mirrors Programme hosted its 10th intensive residential programme for young adults aged 15 to 19. On Sunday evening, 23 November 2014, the organization celebrated the culmination of the residential phase of sixteen (16) young people's journey with a Welcome Home ceremony held at the Whitney Institute Middle School.
Mr. Speaker, The celebration was an acknowledgment of both an ending and a beginning for 16 mature, bold and self-aware young adults who identified that there was something more they wanted for their lives. Each of these young adults said yes to an opportunity to transform their lives and transcend themselves beyond their limitations. Within the last 10 weeks each of these young adults identified the challenges that existed in their lives – lack of self-confidence, challenges focusing, alcohol and or substance-abuse, difficulty trusting, dissatisfaction in relationships with adults, academic failure – to name a few - and make the powerful choice to look within and confront themselves in order to experience life differently moving forward.
Mr. Speaker, The intensive residential was a six-day journey of intense self-reflection, challenging physical activity and exploration of what's possible for the future. During the six days these young adults have endured early mornings and late nights and long hours inside of the course room examining who they have been in their lives, the results they have produced as a result of who they have been, and what they are now making a commitment to in their lives as a result of their awakening. The young adults placed themselves in a position of vulnerability that most adults would not, which is a tremendous achievement as they realized that if they wanted something different for their lives they had to go beyond the level of thinking they had before participating in the programme.
Mr. Speaker, Eleven (11) of the participants in this Mirrors Cohort 10 are young black males. Many of the 16 participants have experimented with marijuana and alcohol, or have been in trouble with the law or been suspended at one time or another during their academic career.
Mr. Speaker, Early in the course, the course leader recognized that this group gave him permission to work with them and explore the dysfunctions in their lives more so than in any other course he has lead. The emotional baggage he was able to address as a result of this was profound - low self-worth, depression, anger, self-deprecating attitudes, self-harm and suicide attempts. Once these conversations were dispelled, the course leader could see that he truly was working with and leading the future of Bermuda – persons that have the potential to become doctors, athletes and artists, among other things. The course leader described the residential as the most powerful Mirrors Residential delivered to date.
Mr. Speaker, During the next 9 months, until August 2015, and with the support of an adult volunteer from the community, these young adults will have the opportunity to action the goals that they said they wanted to accomplish during the residential. They will meet with their committed partner on a weekly basis setting weekly action steps intended to support them in accomplishing their goals by the end of the 9 months. In addition they will also meet as a group on a monthly basis, one Saturday per month, to allow them the opportunity for continued growth in their personal development.
Mr. Speaker, These young people have embarked on a journey with an organisation that has proven results. To date, the organisation has serviced over 720 young people in personal development through its Community programme, Coaching for Success programme offered at the middle school level, and its mentoring programme at the primary school level.
Mr. Speaker, Since its inception in 2007, Mirrors has had considerable success, with 92% of participants in the Community programme being law abiding citizens 2 years post programming, and 82% of participants in the process of receiving or have received their high school diploma/GED.
Mr. Speaker, The Mirrors Programme has proven that it is a worthwhile investment that Bermuda can be proud of. The Mirrors Programme is truly about the business of transforming the community of Bermuda one person at a time; a task which undoubtedly Bermuda is benefiting from now and will continue to benefit from in the future.