by Mark Murray
It was during a graduation ceremony held on Saturday (March 26) that 18 participants were presented with their certificates having completed the three month “Connect programme” facilitated by local Non-governmental organization, Come Alive Network Inc.
The aim of the programme was to target participants’ personal development, which included sessions on creative expression done in partnership with local designer Sonia Noel. Becoming an entrepreneur was another session held in partnership with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and public speaking with the Georgetown Toastmasters.
“When we were creating this programme it was a lot about networking, it was all about team work, team building and most importantly it was personal development of these youth” Public Relations Officer, Ashraf Dabie explained.
The Organization’s Executive Director, Ryan Hoppie believes that the course helped the “young people discover who they are.”
According to him the session was a follow up from last year piloted programme having “noticed that youths are not really looking for a short road to success, they are looking for inspiration and compassion.”
“If they have people that can inspire them, it’s easier for them to empower themselves.” Hoppie feels this can help them to “connect the dots in their lives, they have a lot to deal with and many times they don’t connect the dots and make sense of their struggles and even successes. They don’t know how to use their voice and own their identity.”
The Executive Director said “coupled with the fact that suicide is prevalent in our society and the fact that all our ambassadors in our pre-Programme survey acknowledged that they or someone they knew attempted or had thought of suicide, we knew we had to focus on helping our young people have a more positive outlook towards life.”
It was acknowledged that the programme was intense and required at least an 80 percent attendance and participation in two extremely important sessions on self-worth, as conditions for completion.
Initially some 30 participants started the programme but only 18 managed to graduate over the weekend.
“While we were somewhat disappointed, we realized that the clashes with CAPE classes and weekend worker’s schedules trumped the commitment for those who couldn’t complete. However, it must be said that those individuals are still being engaged and are eager to commit to the journey once their schedules are freer” said Hoppie.
CANI usually offers the programme free to its ambassadors over a 12-week period, which is mainly funded by its membership. The just 4 years old organization is hoping that sponsors could come forward and help expand the programme with the aim of reaching more young people.