The Youth Ambassador Programme (“YAP”) was created by the Alex Panton Foundation to provide support to the youth of Cayman who experience mental health challenges, in particular anxiety and depression, in a way that builds resilience and inspires hope through the young people developing their own path forward within the program. YAP aims to inspire the young people to offer peer support with compassion, understanding and active listening.
This program offers teens and adolescents the opportunity to earn the title of “Youth Ambassador” through fun activities designed to challenge specific skills and provoke discussion to bring about necessary social change for a society where all can feel accepted for being who they are. Participants have the opportunity to interact with other teens and collaborate on ideas beyond the programme.
YAP provides Youth Ambassadors with various opportunities to represent Cayman’s youth, such as providing testimonials at public events, hosting youth visual arts competitions, participating in policy discussions, as well as participating in focus groups to obtain more information on how our youth can be better supported. Throughout the year, the Youth Ambassadors work on campaigns to promote awareness of mental health and the importance of understanding mental health issues and breaking down the stigma of talking about mental health. In 2019, YAP’s campaigns focused on topics of anxiety and depression, drugs, and alcohol use, and keeping safe. The Youth Ambassadors are also supported and given the necessary resources to help spread the word and recruit more Youth Ambassadors across the Cayman Islands. YAP is designed to validate what young people are experiencing, recognise their strengths and inform and connect them with other resources if needed.
The APF has hosted an event in Aug 2019 at the Skate Park which consisted of a series of sessions and activities related to the various aspects of life skills. Participants were given the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, interpersonal and leadership skills. During this event, a total of 25 students have advanced through the programme and earned badges at each stage by completing the assigned task for that stage. They have graduated and become our ambassadors.
During the COVID-19 curfew restrictions, the YAP is conducting presentations and interactive talks on Zoom, focusing on topics such as anxiety and stress.
For more information about YAP events or to sign up as a Youth Ambassador, visit the Youth Ambassador Cayman Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YouthAmbassadors345/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org