Outstanding youth activists, groups honoured at inaugural National Youth Awards

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Some of the Awardees
Some of the Awardees

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Local youths, activists and organisations have been nationally recognised for their achievements as the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, last evening held the first-ever National Youth Awards ceremony at the National Cultural Centre.

National awards were given to Kasha Jennings and Julianna Carter. Awards of service were given to organisations including Youths of Guyana, Grove/Diamond Youth in Development, North Rupununi Football Sub-Association, and Shining Star Friendly Space Environment Network. The School Award went to School of the Nations, the Media award to Synieka Thorne of the Government Information Agency, and the Award of Excellence to Tiona Green from the Ministry of Health. Other winners include those receiving education awards Jorrel De Santos (NGSA Top Student), Elisa Hamilton (CSEC top Student) and Joel Joseph (UG 2014 Valedictorian.)

The inaugural award hosted in collaboration with CUSO International recognised outstanding individuals and/or organisations that have focused their efforts on creating and providing an enabling environment that facilitates youth advocacy and provides effective youth programmes.

Awards were presented in six categories: regional participation, national participation, service, media, school and an award of excellence. The regional awards were given to individuals from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

“Here is a mechanism to distinguish youth advocacy and effective youth programmes. Here is an award that recognises young people who have made a difference through there voluntary participation and active voice, whether it is through sports, training, culture and arts,” Director of Culture, Dr. James Rose said.

Dr. Rose, delivering the key note address at the award ceremony, said that earlier having examined the long list of areas, the scope of activities covered in the award would have questioned whether it was difficult in finding entries for the category. He explained that he was instead informed that the difficulty was not in finding entries, but instead in choosing from among so many quality entries.

Director of Culture, Dr. James Rose delivering remarks at the inaugural National Youth Awards at the National Cultural Centre

“That speaks volume about how fortunate Guyana is to be so generously endowed with such gifted and varied youths,” Dr. Rose noted. He said that often a nation’s GDP is considered by the exploit of that country’s natural resources ignoring the super abundant potential and the wealth of its human resources especially in the youth. “So it was in my days, so I suspect it is in your days, and so I wonder if it is not now the time for that to change,” he said.

He noted that Guyana has great hope in her youthful generation to redeem the country from stressful issues and that no one should ever underestimate the power of youth in this or any other society. “They have not yet learnt what cannot be done, they have not yet become jaded by life’s heartbreaks and because they do not know what cannot be achieved…”

He noted however that these very youthful qualities pose many dangers as young people are sometimes naïve, they do not have the value of experience, give into the silent call of temptation and less likely to older persons who would want to warn them about mistakes.

Dr. Rose explained that simply because youths are the ultimate custodian of the post 2015 socio-cultural, political, economic framework of this or any other society, then young people have the responsibility to ensure they have acquired impactful measureable strengths. He explained that to do this, young people need language and process for using and identifying their strengths and finding ways to change their status and improving their productive status.  

Recognising this, the Government of Guyana is busily preparing a national blueprint to guide and empower youth in the national endeavour of creating a better society, Dr. Rose said. He noted that in the meantime as the scope of this document is being worked out, the organisers of the National Youth Award must be applauded for initiating a new means of reward and at the same time ensuring the development of skills in youths that would lead to the creation of a better society.

Director of Youth, Gillian Frank explained that the Award aims to recognise the accomplishments of those within the age range of 14 to 29 years who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills in their lives and through voluntary services and youth focus organisations that have promoted and fostered the development of youth welfare and voluntary activities.

 She listed as some of the objectives of the award those of highlighting outstanding work that young people contribute to their communities, that is by providing social services to motivate them to develop a sense of duty and leadership to their community regardless of age, and to establish benchmarks that challenge young people to increase their skills in different fields thus improving their personal potential.

Frank said that it is anticipated that gains of the awards will increase the participation of youth in public affairs through voluntarism, increase the ability of youth to advocate for themselves, and the value of youth and their contribution to community and national development.

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