Youth at Risk Reworking their Life Options with Woodworking

Youth at Risk Reworking their Life Options with Woodworking
Youth at risk are re-working their life options with woodworking.

Youth at risk are re-working their life options with woodworking.  This programme is one of the re-skilling activities that form part of the "Increased Prosecution Capacity, Community Leadership and Youth Engagement" Project.


  • Class structure is revisited and adjusted to maximize the effectiveness of instruction
  • Youth have applied theory to practical construction, while building furnishings for the facility
  • A couple of them have become assistant prefects at the youth facility
  • The refurbished woodwork lab will benefit future inmates of Wagner’s Youth Facility

Between 2000 – 2008 Belize’s homicide rate climbed from 19 to 32 per 100,000 with the perception that young people are increasingly becoming perpetrators of crime and violence. However, youth are significantly marginalized in the criminal justice system due to a lack of knowledge of their rights and overall inability to access legal services when in conflict with the law.

In view of this, the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Kolbe Foundation, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, aim to build the capacity of youth and the community to access rehabilitative support and relevant skills for life and work within the society after being on remand.

Notably, a Basketball Training Programme of three months was completed by all youth in the Wagner's Youth Facility who then competed in a fun marathon with youth from the Hostel as part of the life-skills program.  The approach utilizes the Self-Esteem Conflict Resolution Anger Management Independent Liking Skills (SCAIS) Manual and proposes an innovative use of sports as an outlet to apply skills learned and an opportunity to exercise leadership, conflict and anger management, self-esteem building, discipline and peer-support. Essentially the life-skills program will use sports as an avenue to engage youth in conflict with the law to prepare for positive civic engagement.

Now, the young men, are also benefitting from woodworking classes; each group, being trained by phases, is comprised of 10 to 15 persons.  According to the Kolbe Foundation CEO "The skills taught in both theory and practical will certainly make these inmates marketable upon release, and aid them in a pursuit of this vocational trade throughout their lives."

The DGTTF project addressed this institution’s infrastructural deficiency by assisting in the refurbishment of the wood work lab at Wagner’s Youth Facility which will benefit subsequent inmates at the WYF.

As they shape the wood, so do these young men re-work their life options!