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Students and officials celebrate the new partnership between the Ministry and RCIPS for the Extended After-School Programme Skateboard Club. Back row: Deputy Governor Hon. Franz Manderson, JP, Chief Officer for Education Mrs. Mary Rodrigues, JP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, Transport Sponsor Mr. Kenrick Webster of Webster’s Tours and Commissioner of Police Mr. David Baines with students of the Skateboard Club.

Published 26th February 2013, 10:41am

The Skateboard Club is one of the most popular options in the Ministry of Education’s Extended After-School Programme for government school students. The programme now offers new benefits for over 100 students, 5-11 years of age, who take part, as the result of a new partnership with the RCIPS.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. David Baines and Chief Officer for Education, Mrs. Mary Rodrigues, recently signed an MOU formalizing an agreement for the RCIPS and the Ministry to work together to maintain the Skateboard Club. RCIPS have agreed to provide off duty officers who have an interest in supporting and mentoring children and some core funding each year.

As Education Minister, the Hon. Rolston Anglin explained that this partnership provides new opportunities to build positive relationships between students and law enforcement officers.

“Through the Skateboard Club, our students get to interact in a very positive way with police officers, as coaches and mentors. These officers are sewing very important seeds that will pay off in a big way in terms of how the police force will be viewed by these students and their families now and in the future. We believe that the actions of these officers and the relationships they are developing should be considered one of the most effective crime-prevention strategies we could implement,” he said.

On 1 February, 2013, students and officials gathered to mark the official launch of this partnership. On hand for the occasion were the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP; Deputy Governor, the Hon. Franz Manderson, JP; Chief Officer in the Education Ministry, Mrs. Mary Rodrigues, JP; and Commissioner of Police, Mr. David Baines.

Mr. Michael Myles, Programme Coordinator for At-Risk Students, explained that the Skateboard Club is an activity within the Ministry of Education’s Extended After-School Programme, now established for every government school.

“The Mission of the Extended After-School Programme is to provide wholesome activities for our children, in a structured and safe environment, led by caring and knowledgeable staff and volunteers,” Mr. Myles said. “Research tells us that a programme like this can help our children improve their social skills, confidence and grades and also help to counteract the negative influences that can lead to risky behaviours.”

Mr. Myles explained that since September 2011, the programme has been extended to all public schools in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Over 1,400 students attend regularly.

While the Ministries responsible for Education and Youth provides core funding, the Extended After-School Programme depends on donations and volunteer assistance to maintain the range of programmes and services provided. Persons interested in making a donation or volunteering can contact Michael at michael.myles@gov.ky or 244-3150.