‘Youths for Better Living’ making a difference through volunteerism
By Dinica Paul
With the intention of bringing relief to persons in need across Guyana, Kelvin Fortune, popularly known on social media as ‘Selfieboss’, is on a mission to change lives through his non-profit charitable group, Youths for Better Living (YBL).
The organisation was conceptualised in 2002, but initially suffered some setbacks. However, on March 13 last YBL was re-launched at the Umana Yana, and for the past 10 months, it has been making an impact on the lives of persons across Guyana and even in some Caribbean countries.
As the story goes, Fortune’s mother, who was diagnosed with HIV and cancer, died in 2001.
During his time of grieve, Fortune said he was surrounded by a circle of love, where people of all races rendered him assistance and were a constant source of encouragement.
It was this unconditional outpouring of affection that motivated this 32-year-old Guyanese to make a concerted effort to lend a helping hand to his not-so-fortunate compatriots.
“The group started while there was a rise of racism in Guyana, so what I wanted to do is have persons from various religions, various political parties, various races and have them together in one to try to eliminate racism,” Fortune told News Room during an exclusive interview.
The charitable group, he explained, offers assistance to persons from all walks of life.
“We have different programmes that we have launched; we have the before knife and fork initiative- persons can plant seeds, fruits, and vegetables. We have the hamper project where hampers are distributed in communities to single mothers, senior citizens, and people living with disability. We assist cancer patients and we also assist persons who are doing surgeries,” he highlighted.
YBL also has a ‘Homeless Children Initiative’ where vulnerable children are linked with other agencies and organisations to be placed in a home.
The group will soon launch a Single Mother Project, whereby assistance and guidance would be provided to this target group to start up their own small business.
In serving the community through volunteerism, YBL has so far distributed 9,500 hampers to single mothers, assisted 200 fire victims and also helped financially with three major surgeries. The group also recently honoured 1,000 frontline workers with food supplies and a certificate of appreciation.
Though YBL is a Guyanese group, their impact has been felt beyond these shores, as they have provided financial assistance and food supplies to persons in sister Caribbean nations.
Understandably, there are daily challenges in the execution of their lofty programmes, but the motivation to make a difference in society is what keeps Fortune and his team going.
With finance and transportation being their biggest bugbear, Fortune and the YBL team are grateful to those persons who would continuously donate to their cause.
Overcoming the hurdles is a must for the YBL, as the ultimate aim is to bring comfort and joy to those who may not be that privileged.
Fortune mentioned that most of the items that are distributed come from donors. According to Fortune, there are ambitious plans for the non-government group.
“What I want to do is move from a group to an international organization, where we have different departments that deal with different problems. There is the single mother’s department, child abuse department, domestic violence department, fire victims’ department- that is my goal and objectives for the Youths for Better Living,” he said.
The charitable group, which continues to grow, has 70 volunteers.
As the expansion of Youths for Better Living continues, Fortune expressed appreciation to the many businesses and individuals who have been willingly donating to the group.
Persons desirous of assisting Youths for Better Living can call 661-4580 for further details.