PACE supports teen mothers allowing this disadvantaged group of young women to continue their education so that they can earn a high school diploma. As such, teen pregnancy prevention in an important part of our mission. We have observed that many students who enroll in the PACE School show signs of low self-esteem and exhibit poor decision-making skills. Thus, the bulk of the counselling and services that we provide, centre around self-esteem and character development.
In 2016, the Foundation became aware of Character Day and believed that it aligned with our teen pregnancy prevention goals. We then sought partners to assist with bringing the event to The Bahamas. Our planning committee includes PACE Foundation members, representatives of Bahamas AIDS Foundation and Lyford Cay Foundations FOCUS programme, an educator, guidance counsellor and psychologist each with extensive and varied experiences with young people ranging from kindergarten to college.
We are working towards long-term outcomes, that is, the enhancement of the knowledge, skills and practice surrounding character education to bring about societal transformation. To achieve this, we are strengthening our programme by expanding our workshop series, distributing resources, administering small grants, and strengthening character education at the PACE School. Character Day events and a targeted public education campaign will broaden public engagement. We are excited for this opportunity to continue to build upon our successes because as in the words of Maria Montessori, “Character education is just as important to education as reading, math and science.”