Students doing their part to stomp out crime
Shamar Morris and Camila Papadopoulo, both aged 14, have never been directly impacted by gangs or gang violence but like many others living on the Island they understand their impact on the community.
"It's added a feeling of discomfort and you can't have peace of mind like before. We can't feel as safe as we used to," said Shamar.
The youngsters joined ten classmates at Somersfield Academy and art teacher Summer Wood to do their part to stomp out crime.
For the past few weeks students have been brainstorming and designing a calendar project on behalf of Crime Stoppers Bermuda.
Jeff Baron, the organisation’s director, said it was great to get younger children more familiar with the organisation and encourage a different demographic of people to use the service.
“We don’t ever have people this age involved in Crime Stoppers, so I was there if they had any initial questions about what I do, how it works and why they should encourage people to call.
“They are young, but they may have a phone and be very capable of calling and wanting to call.”
Crime Stoppers Bermuda is a registered local charity which gives people a safe and confidential way to pass on information about crimes, without fear of exposure or retribution.
Somersfield Academy was paired up with the organisation as part of PartnerRe Ltd’s Dollars for Hours scheme.
Established in 2006, Dollars for Hours gives the Island’s eight secondary schools the chance to earn $30,000 each when their students team up to support local charities.
CedarBridge Academy recently joined up with environmental group GreenRock to create a community garden and encourage people to plant and harvest their own produce. Bermuda Institute students helped repair and build bluebird nest boxes alongside the Bermuda Audubon Society; the Berkeley Institute painted walls and a mural with WindReach Recreational Village.
Costas Miranthis, president and CEO of PartnerRe, said: “As a Bermudian company, we have a sincere interest in Bermuda and in particular, the education of our young people.
“We hope that Dollars for Hours will continue to raise awareness, provide a valuable team building experience for the students and complete important projects for a wide range of charities.”
The young people in Ms Wood’s art class said they also enjoyed the venture.
The Royal Gazette: “The crime rate is increasing so it’s important that Crime Stoppers is a choice for people so we can solve more crimes and help stop all the crimes in Bermuda.
“It’s rewarding just to know that we are spreading awareness and to know our designs will be out to other people.”
Camila said she was pleased Crime Stoppers members were on hand to talk to students. She said: “I think it’s cool that we also get a copy of the calendar to know what we did and how it impacted Bermuda.”
Mr Baron said he was excited about collaborating with the senior school, particularly children in this age range.
“For us it’s all about exposure, we want to be in the public, in the news, in schools and the community without it being in response to a horrific crime. This is an example of positive collaboration with an age group that is almost too aware of what’s going on.”
He said he gave Ms Wood and her M4 art class freedom to design the calendar on their own. The young people avoided dark images of violence and created cheerful pictures of things like paint brushes, sun shades, stars and keys.
Ms Wood said her class spent weeks brainstorming then chose a month to design with their art work.
They used acetone, a chemical used to remove nail polish, to transfer pictures onto the calendar paper and will work together to design a calendar cover and add the Crime Stoppers logo to each page.
Mr Baron said: “We have seen the drawings of guns and kids with the tears in their eyes, this is just another way of them expressing themselves artistically.
“There is no need to ram home that message, we want to expand what that message is so we expand our profile and the people who are calling us.”
The calendars are expected to be complete before Christmas and will be handed out to thousands of people, including schools and businesses in the community.
To contact Crime Stoppers' anonymous hotline call 800-8477. For more information on the organisation visit www.crimestoppers.bm.