MultiCare Youth Foundation delivers ‘Passport To Success’ Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Imagine using a curriculum that is so impactful on the young and adults, that their lives are transformed once engaged.

The MultiCare Youth Foundation (MYF) has scored to this end, having found a ‘sweet spot’ with the ‘Passport to Success’ curriculum.

The MYF, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), is the only licenced administrator of the international curriculum in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Department of Correctional Services (DCS) officer and St Catherine community leader, Audley Vernon, is one of four active Jamaican Passport to Success (PTS) master trainers or ‘trainer of trainers’.

The internationally acclaimed PTS system has been developed and fine-tuned over the past 20 years by the US-based International Youth Foundation (IYF).

It features individually targeted exercises, a highly participatory approach, and a range of practical life and employability skills that are easily adapted to any culture.

MYF is currently using the curriculum as part of the European Union-funded Bridge Project, which is a programme to prevent crime and violence perpetrated by young people by targeting at-risk youth, aged 15 to 29, in specific communities.

PTS is being used successfully in more than 80 countries and is delivered in 20 languages.Results overseas include reduced school dropout rates, improved educational outcomes, and increased employee retention and promotion.

In Jamaica, principals, teachers, and youth continue to express enthusiasm about the PTS approach.

Vernon, who has taught young people in the government’s Juvenile Correctional Services since 2011, is equally happy using the PTS system locally.

“PTS is a blessing from heaven. It is amazing, comprehensive and covers every nitty-gritty. Each individual participant is catered to for his or her own needs. What adds to the spark is the way it is structured – the participatory methodology PTS uses is just different,” Vernon shared.   

He adds, “When you say you are having a life skills session, you don’t have to beg anyone to come; honestly, I am in love with this curriculum!”  

A Spanish Town High School alumnus, certified mediator, and Justice of the Peace, now pursuing his master’s degree in theology,  Vernon has been passionate about working with young people all his life.

In fact, in 1997 while still in high school, he founded the Lauriston and Thompson Pen Youth Club, which later merged with the 4-H Clubs movement and once boasted the title of ‘largest youth club in the world’, with more than 50 members.

The 42-year-old husband and father now serves as the founding leader of the Club, where he still assists with training young members.

After nearly two decades of teaching English and Mathematics and later presenting PTS Life Skills in the juvenile correctional services, Vernon says he is surprised to find that the benefits of the PTS Curriculum can be equally valuable to adult participants.

He came to the realisation after advancing to being trained as a PTS Trainer of Trainers at an MYF workshop in Kingston in June 2022.

To become certified, Vernon completed his practicum by training a group of Mandeville-based youth workers as PTS trainers in January 2023.    

In early 2024, he was transferred from the Metcalfe Street Juvenile Correctional Facility to the General Penitentiary (GP), where he was asked to help revive projects under a rehabilitation programme.

These include PTS life skills in leadership and healthy lifestyles, welding, carpentry, and construction topics.Mr. Vernon says he was amazed at how enthusiastic the adult participants in the Mandeville workshop and at the general penitentiary were about the PTS training.

“The reception was so overwhelming. The Mandeville participants couldn’t stop praising the curriculum and the participatory approach. And after the first [set of] PTS sessions, wherever I went at GP, inmates would be hailing me and asking when the next Life Skills workshop would be,” he shares.