“Mentoring Saves Lives” By Felicia Browne
The Caribbean Mentorship Institute (CMI) and the Barbados Youth Development Council have recently trained several young leaders across the country. In keeping with this year’s theme “Developing Young Leaders for the Future“, the institute hosted its 2nd annual Young Leaders seminar at the University of the West Indies-Cave Hill Campus. The young participants from the ages of 14-21 years were trained in leadership and volunteering skills.
The mentoring training was structured in a college-style setting in which the young participants engaged in lectures and symposiums, which featured guest speakers from various fields and professions including business leaders, farmers, local activists, and other persons who are making positive impacts within their communities.
The president of the CMI, Ms. Felicia Browne, indicated that such youth programs can have positive impacts for young persons. Ms. Browne who was also a guest speaker at the Barbados Peace Walk, spoke to the young audience on the importance of education. She advised that a young leader must set goals for the future and work to achieve them through self determination and perseverance.
Browne adds “Our young leaders need a voice in matters which affect them. We as citizens must lay the foundations for them to thrive. It is their basic right as citizens to succeed in life. Everyday, our Caribbean youth are engaging in positive contributions to our society. Too often we hear the negative about our young people, while the positives are not often highlighted. Our media is flooded with stories of crime where the main victims have been young people. It is our responsibility as a society to improve the lives of young persons within our communities. The increase in gun violence and petty crimes among our young males are exemplary of our roles as elders in our communities. We can no longer continue to ignore the signs of their vulnerability as citizens. We should listen to their concerns and provide guidance, tolerance and compassion.”
Ms. Janine Sealy, a participant from the Barbados Youth Council adds that:
“The leadership workshop has reduced barriers and limitations to the varying possibilities that as young people we have. While participating I understood the reasoning behind adopting life long skills which contributed to my development in becoming a well rounded individual. The workshop has also encouraged me to engage in continuous self-enhancement. I strongly believe the chosen areas presented were accurately thought out and had tremendous relevance to the group and current issues being faced among us youth. Additionally, learning the importance of adopting and maintaining confidence and understanding the limitless possibilities, serves as key components to continuous development both personally and professionally and assisted me in widening my horizons. Lastly, being awarded the opportunity of interacting with diverse groups and individuals also expands my perspective while enhancing my knowledge base and lending for greater appreciation in difference of opinion.”
The CMI summer initiative provided young people with the hands-on training which will assist communities as volunteers and peacekeepers. On completion of training, the participants volunteered their time with various non-profit organisations like the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society.
The CMI wishes to thank its sponsors, presenters, participants, volunteers and well-wishers for the success of this summer initiative.