National Focus


Reach Out Youth Organization (ROYO) Scared Straight Prison Program is currently entering its Fifth session, with 30 teenage boys expected to travel on Wednesday, July 15 to Nassau, New Providence.

Dudley Seide, ROYO founder revealed, â The Scared Straight Prison Program was started to help at-risk youth from the inner city communities of Grand Bahama change their destructive mind set and behaviors by visiting Her Majestyâ s Prison, Fox Hill, New Providence.

â Since the program began ROYO with the sponsorship of corporate Grand Bahama and other private citizens, we have taken over 200 at risk young men to visit the prison exposing them to the realities of deviant behaviors, which positively impacted their lives.

â Upon being face-to-face with the prisoners, the conditions of the prison cells, several prison mates crammed into a small space using a bucket to urine and defecate in, no freedom of movement along with the heat, stench and prisoners expressing a wide range demands and emotions, youngsters taking the tour vow never to return.

â Young men with anger issues opt to remedy their behavior through counseling, which in turn sets them on a course to stop committing petty crimes, listen to the advise of their parents, focus on improving their grades and become involved in athletic or cultural activities so as not to jeopardize their future by being incarcerated.⠝

Quite a few of the young men who previously participated in the program that were heading down the wrong path, credits the Scared Straight Prison Program for helping them to turn their lives around.

Many who had dropped out of school or did not graduate enrolled themselves in alternative learning centers obtaining their diploma, Seide revealed.

Several others are currently furthering their education in the United States of America and according to the ROYO founder, â One young man is studying to be a lawyer, another recently signed a Division One basketball scholarship in the USA, yet another is completing his third year of college on a full academic scholarship, another joined the Royal Bahamas Police Force and several others have developed their own business or are working at entities throughout the Bahama Islands, productively contributing to society.

â Truly this program has helped many young men, resulting in one less mother going to the courthouse or morgue to identify their son.

â It is unfortunate that without the assistance of corporate Grand Bahama and other private citizens, the program will not continue and these 30 young men would not be afforded the opportunity to rise above the negative status quo.

â ROYO has sent out letters to every Member of Parliament on Grand Bahama, business entities and churches in the hope of receiving financial sponsorship so these 30 young men would have a chance at participating in the Scared Straight Prison Program.

â The cost for all 30 young men to travel for the five-day, four night trip to New Providence is estimated at $10,320, which includes airfare, ground transportation, hotel accommodations and meals.

â The young men would also participate in the Peace on the Street Basketball Championship, hosted by Apostle Carlos Reid of the Kingdom Summit (Nassau),⠝ Seide revealed.

Cognizant that the financial struggles of most corporations could be the cause of ROYO Scared Straight Prison Program not obtaining the sponsorship needed for the program to continue, Seide continued to plead with churches and other civic organizations for assistance.

â Grand Bahama, we simply cannot allow this program to fail, as it would cause a great disservice to our young men, who deserve a second chance.

â I know all to well the woes of a child going down a wrong path and ending up in prison, as I have a son there.

â I want to help another mother, father or family not have to dealt with the tragic hurt of a son going to jail or worse being murdered.

â These young men deserve that opportunity, and we must not give up on them or the work of ROYO please give us your support and lets push to propel the success of the Scared Straight Prison Program.

â Please contact ROYO on Banyan Lane if you can offer financial assistance as the trip is just 10 days away, thank you Grand Bahama for your support in this and all matters concerning the work of this organization,⠝ Seide concluded.

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