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Latter-Day Saints participate in Self Reliance Programmes for Personal Empowerment

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becoming self-reliant is a major focus. Self-reliance is specifically a tool for the empowerment of our youth.

The Church in Jamaica has what is known as a Self-Reliance Center where members can go to get assistance in their path to self-reliance. The objective of self-reliance initiatives are that both the temporal and spiritual needs of its members are fulfilled.

 Self reliance initiatives are designed to facilitate not only spiritual self-reliance but there are opportunities for the youth to become temporally self-reliant. The self-reliance center has what is known as ‘My Path to Self- Reliance”. This is a program which seeks to assist youths in identifying their temporal needs and the necessary steps which are needed to become self-reliant.  That is, the need for better education, aspirations for starting and growing a business or assistance in job searches.

For youths who are interested in improving their education they enroll in what is known as ‘Education for Better Works’. This program assists students in firstly identifying interesting career fields, fine tuning the necessary requirements need for various career paths and assist in identifying the resources which will be needed to pursue and complete that career field.

Two hundred and seventy- one (271) individuals have attended the group classes in 2015 in Starting and Growing My Business, My Job Search and Education for Better Work. Ninety (90) graduated from the combined classes last year.

In a bid to assist students in furthering their education, students can apply for what is known as the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF). This is a loan offered to studentsto assist in paying of up to approximately 70% of their tuition fees (for an average degree program). Students are therefore able to, on average, access up to $ US 1432.00 per year. There are also incentives given for early payment of loan. Rates given are comparatively low in comparison to most student loan agencies in the world. In the last 5 years up to 174 students have applied and received financial assistance, in the form of a loan, to further their education. The number of students seeking to further their education are expected to increase.

Also, the Church has implemented what is known as Pathway. This is a program which is designed to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college. Pathway is a low-cost educational opportunity that combines online courses with local gatherings. Students earn college credit that is eligible for transfer to Brigham Young University (BYU)-Idaho and other universities. The program takes three semesters, or one year, to complete and can lead to professional certificates and degrees. Path-way is no simple program. Fifty- four (54) individuals enrolled in pathway in Spanish Town and Constant Spring and Mandeville. Students, who would otherwise have been in difficult positions to attain a tertiary education, can in a very short period, matriculate to attain a tertiary education, for a very low cost.  

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