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Youth Wellness Center
The Children First Youth Wellness Center (YWC) is a response to two critical challenges facing young people in Jamaica; their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection as shown by an increased infection rate among adolescents; and the reluctance of youth to use national health care facilities because they are insensitive to their needs.
The Center provides a unique combination of services aimed at equipping each young person with the information, skills and health care needed to combat the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. The Youth Wellness Center (YWC) offers:
Education and vocational skills training
Job placement opportunities
User-friendly support services
Interested in partnering with our YWC?
Sexual and Reproductive Health Information Service Islandwide
Children First Agency’s premier innovation, the Bashy Bus, was pioneered as Jamaica’s first mobile reproductive health and information service, geared at empowering young people to make healthy life choices.
The Bashy Bus Kru provides adolescents with easily accessible, youth-friendly health services in a bid to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections in Jamaica.
The eye-catching "Bashy Bus” is equipped with an examination room as well as multimedia and audio equipment to appeal to its target audience. Health screening, information, contraceptives and psychosocial services are provided by a multidisciplinary team of outreach workers, social workers, psychologists and other trained health care professionals, whilst maintaining a standard of quality and confidentiality. Notably, clientele that are deemed most at risk i.e. key populations, including persons living with HIV are catered to via the linkage to care, treatment and support/case management services.
The Bashy Bus Kru also features as the edutainment arm of the Agency, delivering life-changing behavior modification presentations tailored to tackle a myriad of social issues. Edutainment packages involve performances delivered by a diverse team of peer educators, trained in the use of creative/ performing arts as well as cultural approaches for transformation.
Bashy Bus Activities
Bashy Bus HIV and Syphilis Testing & Counseling
Children First Agency- Bashy Bus Kru in partnership with the Ministry of Health, operates as an active contributor to the nation’s efforts in responding to the HIV epidemic and the reduction in the transmission of HIV and other STIs. The Bashy Bus has travelled the length and breadth of Jamaica, providing quality secure and confidential HIV and Syphilis screening and counselling, which includes same-day results and SRH information, to persons 16 years and older free of cost. VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing) and PITC (Provider Initiated Testing and Counselling) services are conducted in a confidential and safe space by trained health professionals, holistically catering to the needs of its clientele. Notably, this service offers an opportunity to individuals and vulnerable populations otherwise unable to access public health services, due to current geographic location or lack of resources. Services are offered on-site free of cost in a comfortable environment with all clients given the option to access SRH information and contraceptives.
Linkage to Care Treatment and Support /Case Management Services
Screening services are complemented by this department within the Children First Agency- Bashy Bus Kru. The team undertakes risk and need assessments, provides psychosocial support (inclusive of counseling), internal and external referrals (including access to medical and treatment options) as well as other social support services; to facilitate positive change and enhance contribution to society.
Life Skills Training and Edutainment
The development of life skills and edutainment training tools are central to Bashy Bus Kru’s ongoing mission, to sensitize, mobilize and address topical issues affecting vulnerable communities and populations. Kru members conduct life skills workshops and empowerment sessions highlighting focal areas such as sexual reproductive health, peer pressure, conflict resolution and gender-based violence. The use of the creative and performing arts is incorporated as a transformational mechanism, encouraging behaviour change by demonstrating real-life situations and offering possible solutions to everyday problems. Original presentations are developed and executed by a team of talented individuals, passionate about social inclusion and nation-building. Notably, as the Kru evolves, it has embarked on numerous edutainment workshops with various NGOs, schools and churches intending to enhance the creative capacities of participants.
Bashy Kidz Initiative
An outreach program of the Bashy Bus Kru, Bashy Kidz forms a part of the Agency’s prevention services. The team engages school-aged children (8 - 12 years) from volatile communities in Kingston, through the delivery of life skills education and the performing arts. On a bi-weekly basis, children are involved in fun learning activities, designed to develop leadership and team-building skills. Sessions focus on exploring social, health and environmental issues (Child Rights, Peace Building etc), whilst providing the children with a safe space to freely express themselves. A participatory approach is employed, and children take part in the decision-making process i.e. program design and implementation.
iFLEX is an online outreach project entirely dedicated to responding to supporting the health and wellness of men in their diverse issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health. These issues are at the forefront and are important in effecting better health-seeking behaviour among men. This is achieved through passive and active engagement, providing them with information on sexual reproductive health, linking them to HIV services such as testing and counselling, encouraging medication adherence and social support as well as the reduction of stigma around HIV. Services available through our platform include:
Free HIV/Syphilis testing and comprehensive information regarding STD’s and other men’s health issues
Free condoms and lubricants so you can #FlexResponsibly when you engage with a sexual partner
Free psychosocial support for clients inclusive of counseling services with a psychologist (available through appointment)
Interested in partnering with the Bashy Bus Kru?