The Young Leaders group at the St Joseph’s Convent in Grenville, St. Andrew are the winners of the 2016-2017 Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Young Leaders programme, which culminated with a closing ceremony at the Grenada Trade Centre.
“I feel quite elated that we have won,” said Tafia Benjamin, President of the SJC, St Andrew young leaders in an interview with reporters immediately after the ceremony.
The SJCG Young Leaders culmination project, was dubbed the one with the most creative and significant approach, that most actually displayed all aspects of this year’s theme, “I am we volunteering for impact.”
The young ladies from SJC were able to coordinate a new home for a disadvantaged family living in the Seamoon, St. Andrew.
“It (the project) displayed a perfect example of sustainable development…it was a sterling and exemplary display of how some can benefit from the selfless giving of others…it was a demonstration of the desirable and the distinguished service that prominently impacted one of our key social values,” said Chairman of the closing ceremony Kenroy Bapitste as he announced this year’s winners.
Coordinating teacher, Kareen Christopher told THE NEW TODAY that the approximately $50, 000 house was constructed through volunteerism.
“We got everything for that home through volunteering; from the materials, the funds that were needed, the workers who were needed to do the job, from designing the building to actually putting it up…everything was done through volunteerism,” she said in expressing thanks to the many volunteers who made it all possible.
“There are so many persons – we had persons as far away as Switzerland, Canada, and different states in the USA sending funds to us and right here in Grenada we had quite a few people for example.
The foundation of the building was done by Captain Harris, the body of the building was done by quite a number of people but one of our prominent contributors was the SEED programme…and the roof was done by Shelter Solutions”, she said.
“Most of the paint was given by Sissons Paints and NAWASA is going to assist us by giving the family water connection. So we have had quite a large number of persons coming together to assist us,” she added.
According to Christopher, the group is now seeking assistance to purchase a septic tank for the 3-member family, who were expected to officially move into their new home this past week.
“We need $2, 400 for the septic tank and we have half of that…so if we can get a little bit more funds it would be nice,” the school teacher remarked.
This year’s Judge’s award went to the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SAASS), for their project which the judges felt was “conceived outside the box and stood out with moments of brilliance, insights, foresights, high spirits and team work… for their, Promoting Positive Peer Pressure.”
In making this announcement, while delivering the judge’s comments, Chief judge, Desmond La Touche, saluted the SAASS young leaders for a job well done however, expressed disappointment with the small quantity of schools that participated in this year’s event.
“We were appalled by the downgrade in the level of participation by institutions and hope that the disappointing number of 9 schools in this year’s programme is not the beginning of the end to this most powerful youth development initiative that truly challenges the creativity abilities of young people thus empowering and preparing them to step forward”, he said.
According to the former Dean at TAMCC, although the programme was judged “amid mixed feeling this year,” they were all encouraged by the “high level of seriousness and maturity exhibited by the 9 participating schools as they went about their business interpreting the theme.”
“It is noted that all the projects were uniquely conceived, methodically developed and reasonably well executed with their own presentation flares,” he said, noting that creativity and innovation were not lacking, neither was the widespread and varied activities of humanitarian deeds.”
The 2016/2017 Most Outstanding Young Leader award went to Carina Blache, a fourth form student of SAASS, for her outstanding acts of selfless volunteerism throughout the project.
“I am quite elated and I would like to thank my fellow young leaders for nominating me for the award. I want to thank God for allowing me to win this award,” the aspiring lawyer told reporters in an interview after the closing ceremony.
Other participating schools included Beacon High School (BHS), Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s (SJCSG), Anglican High School (AHS) and St. David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS).