Snapshot on Tetra Tech’s support of Jamaican Drug Rehabilitation Program
Under Jamaica’s Drug Court (Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act, the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) has sought to reduce the number of crimes linked to drug abuse by providing treatment and regular monitoring for drug-dependent offenders and supporting them to function as law-abiding citizens.
In June 2016, Tetra Tech’s Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase II (COMET II) partnered with the DTC Rehabilitation Program to support a workforce development program to enroll participants in skills training courses such as digital animation, auto mechanics, or remedial courses in secondary matriculation exams.
One participant, 36-year old Probean Champaignie, proves it is never too late to turn around , no matter how far down the ‘wrong’ path one may be.
Even after attending his first courses, Champaignie says he resisted the opportunity to succeed. “At first, I was telling myself, ‘this is not for me, I don’t need any help. I’m bigger than this.”
Champaignie was referring to his participation in the DTC Rehabilitation program. In 2015, Champaignie ended up in the Resident Magistrate’s Court after being involved in a serious fight; an incident he now deeply regrets; “I didn’t think I needed any help, but looking back now, I see that I was wrong. The program helped me to quit drinking, and I learned how to manage conflict.”
Champaignie enrolled in the program’s auto mechanics course, certified by Jamaica’s HEART Trust National Training Agency, which was implemented by Cornerstone Ministries, a vocational and technical training school. He completed Levels 1 and 2 and will be advancing to Level 3 in an on-the-job-certification course. The father of three and valedictorian at his graduation from the DTC program in December 2016, Champaignie made such a strong impression, that he was offered the position of a Level 1 Auto Mechanics instructor at Cornerstone Ministries.
“We were so impressed that when one of our instructors resigned, we decided to offer him the position. He did not even know how to turn on a computer when he first came here. But since then, he has not failed a single assessment. Now that he is working with high risk students, his character stands out in how he manages the guys and they respect him”, says the Executive Director at Cornerstone Ministries, Marjorie Gowdy.
Champaignie admits that he enjoys being able to pass on knowledge to and earn the respect of his students. “By me becoming their teacher, it has encouraged them. Some of them tell me, ‘sir, I want to walk in your shoes, I want to be like you ’.”
In the future, Champaignie intends to complete more advanced levels in auto mechanics and possibly expand into other sectors. “My goal is to go into aviation. I also want to open a garage. I envision it as a multi-purpose complex where we have a car wash, auto-body work, and a parts shop as well”.