Program Structured Exclusively to Serve "Child
Soldiers" in Liberia
(Press Release - Issued March 14, 2004, by The Liberia Coalition
March 15, 2004
The Liberia Coalition Project (LCP) is a program structured exclusively to serve "child soldiers" of Liberia. The Program is a subsidiary of the Fort Pierce Multilateral Center, in Fort Pierce, Florida. (United Way, Children’s Services Council, the City of Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, and the School Board of St. Lucie County Board are funding the program).
Mr. Jerome Zohndyuwaye Gayman, a native of Liberia, established the Liberia Coalition Project as a way of helping the children that were exploited by the various warlords in the Liberian civil conflict. The project is the result of a research conducted by Mr. Gayman at the legendary Eckerd Youth Development Center in Florida - 1996-2004. It is based on the theory called “Reality Therapy”, which was developed by Dr. William Glasser of the University of California at Berkely in 1967.
“Reality Therapy” was developed as an intensive Rehabilitative method to reform gang members, rapists, murderers and hard-core juvenile offenders in the American Juvenile Justice System. The therapy is intended to reform and return rehabbed children back to society as productive citizens. This method is the preeminent treatment approach use to rehabilitate juveniles in every state in the Union, Europe and India.
Mr. Gayman, a Master Reality Therapist felt it appropriate to replicate this method in Liberia to address the growing problem of traumatized "child soldiers".
Presently, Mr. Gayman is the CEO/Executive Director of the program called: THE FRONTLINE FOR KIDS (www.frontlinekids.org). The Liberia Coalition Project is the result of a collaboration with Dr. D. Gamble, Professor of Recreation Therapy, University of Florida, Ms. Arnnett Gibson, Professor of Nursing at Miami Dade College, Ms. Katharine Chatman, HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases Program Administrator at NEED, Inc., Erline Moore-Cobb of AIDS Intervention, Ms. Carole Gooden, Distant Learning Specialist, at St. Lucie County School System, Mrs. Karen Lucus-Brown, Vocational Education Specialist, St. Lucie County Schools and Ms. Paula DeAtley, Master Art Therapist to provide a comprehensive residential program to needy kids of Liberia. Basically, this will be a one-stop treatment center for traumatized kids.
The program will consist of formal and informal assessments, personal growth and goal-setting, daily reality, art therapy, recreation therapy, social skills development, sports and fitness activities, talent development and mandatory community service.
The program is projected to have 15 cites, one in every county across the country; each site is projected to produce between 62-75 employment opportunities for Liberians. Each site will host 500 "Child Soldiers" for a total of 7, 500 children, with a two years commitment to these children. It is a goal that 60-80% of these kids will be transitioned to traditional school at the end of the first contract year. The program will also offer an intensive remediation and literacy component the will address the needs of those that are ready for traditional school. It will prepare some of the young adults for the work force through vocational training.
Congressman Alcee Hastings of the 23rd Congressional District in Florida, endorsed the project. Congressman Hastings, is a permanent member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Florida Delegation Vice Chair, United States Helsinki Commission and Senior Democratic Whip.
The Congressional office has made provisions and written Mr. Jacque-Paul Klein, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General in Liberia, Ambassador John W. Blaney, III and Mr. Adrew S. Natsios, USAID to meet with Mr. Jerome Gayman and Ms. Delore Hogan Johnson (Program Administrator with the St. Lucie County School System)
The program is projected to cost $15, 000.000.00 per year, which is ($2, 000 per child).
· Departs from Baltimore Washington International (BWI) March 15 at 11:30 A.M. by Ghana Air Ways
· Arrives in Monrovia, March 16 at 1:15 P.M.
· March 17, do site visits
· March 18, meet with Vice Chairman, Hon. Wesley Johnson
· March 19, site visits
· March 23, meeting with Ambassador John W. Blaney, III
· March 24-27 Needs assessments
· March 28, departs Monrovia
· Returns to Florida debrief/prepare report for Congressman Alcee Hastings/ Black Congressional Caucus
· Projected (start-up) date: June/July 2004