ROTTERDAM—Jernaldo “Dr. Rum” Thielman has started a crowd-funding action to initiate a St. Maarten version of the successful, motivational “Young in Prison” programme, a project to provide music workshops for delinquent youngsters.
St. Maarten-born Thielman (25), who has completed his music studies in Rotterdam, has been working a little over two years for the Young in Prison programme in youth detention facilities throughout the Netherlands, giving music workshops. Now he feels it is time to return home and do something for the youngsters in St. Maarten.
Thielman uses his music and song-writing skills to get to the youngsters who are interned. “We write the songs from scratch with the lyrics being mostly based on what it is that is on their minds. We chose a beat and record the song with studio equipment that I bring to prison,” he told The Daily Herald.
During the workshop a so-called mind map is drawn up, which gives the youngsters the opportunity to tell something about themselves and the situation that they are in. They can express who they are and what they feel. The youngsters can then use that information to write the song.
The workshop provides a highly positive incentive, creates positivism and strengthens the youngsters’ spirit and motivation. “It shows them that they can create things, and that it is possible to make a career in music,” said Thielman, who also tries to inspire the youngsters through motivational speeches.
The Youth in Prison programme is a great success. “It is amazing to see what a positive role model can do for the youngsters.” The fact that Thielman, or Dr. Rum as most people know him, made it to the 2014 semi-finals of popular Dutch talent TV show The Voice of Holland has made “it even easier” to relate to the youngsters because they recognise him from the TV show.
The director of the Young in Prison programme asked him one day if he did not want to start the project in St. Maarten. The programme already exists in different countries around the world, including Suriname, Colombia and Kenya. The workshops are given by local organisations.
The young performer has spoken with St. Maarten Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs about the initiative. “She was immediately enthusiastic, and so is the Young in Prison team in the Netherlands,” he said.
According to Thielman, there is a need in St. Maarten for a programme such as Young in Prison, not only for youngsters that are in detention but also before they end up in trouble, and after they have served time in prison. “I have friends that have ended up in prison. I grew up in a rough situation and I know what it is like out there. How hard it can be.”
Some young people on the island are in trouble, and they could use an inspiring programme. “I know many youngsters who need a prospect, something positive to work on. They have talents. I want to show them that they can earn an honest salary as a musician instead of hanging out on the block.”
Thielman has started the process to set up a foundation in St. Maarten that will collaborate with Young in Prison and with Minister Jacobs. “With this foundation I will not only be organising and giving workshops in the prison, but also set up programmes for the youth before reaching to the point of going to prison, and for the youth who have just been released from prison.”
His next step is to go back to St. Maarten, to do research and kick-start the foundation. There currently is no budget for Thielman to fly back to St. Maarten, to do all the research and perform the other necessary steps to start up the foundation that is why he has initiated a crowd-funding initiative through the website generosity.com by seeking sponsors to help him in fulfilling this project.
Thielman intends to work with local workshop leaders and wants to assemble a St. Maarten team of motivated individuals. The crowd-funding initiative can be found on: www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/ticket-to-st-maarten-to-start-up-my-foundation/x/13845828
“I always intended to go back to my island after coming to the Netherlands six years ago to pursue my music career. It was never a matter of if, more so a matter of when. The time to go back and give back to my people has come. I feel that in St. Maarten I can be of even greater service for the young generation, by showing them that anything is possible, no matter where you come from or what you have been through,” he said.
Source: Daily Herald
Dr. Rum initiates crowd-funding for St. Maarten Young in Prison project