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The energy and excitement were palpable as a record-breaking 235 secondary school students, representing 32 schools across south Trinidad, took part in the opening edition of this year’s Uniquely Worthy youth development workshops at Paria Suites, La Romain, on Saturday.
Jerome La Rode, a Form Six student at Moruga Secondary School, embraced the workshop as a life-changing experience. “I didn’t know what to expect and I was a little worried, but at the end of the day, we were all given the motivation to improve ourselves and achieve our full potential. The messages were positive and allowed us to connect as peers and see ourselves as achievers and leaders. It was amazing to be a part of Uniquely Worthy, and leaving here, I feel that I am truly unique and worthy,” stated an elated La Rode.
Started in 2009, the Uniquely Worthy initiative is a collaborative effort between bpTT and United Way T&T. It is approved by the Ministry of Education, as well as the Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport. The programme engages the opinions, collaboration and active participation of young people through a range of topics, including valuing one’s self, embracing one’s peers and discovering and living one’s purpose.
In a release, Ronda Francis, corporate responsibility manager, bpTT, underscored the company’s support of the programme: “We are a resource-based company and recognise that our young people are among our nation’s greatest resources. Uniquely Worthy falls directly in line with our corporate vision to participate actively in the development of the country by impacting the life of every citizen in a positive manner. Over the years, the feedback from young people, their teachers and parents—certifying that these workshops have opened minds and transformed lives—is confirmation that this partnership with United Way is making a real difference.”
Wayne Moze, director, United Way T&T, welcomed the students and laid the way for Don La Foucade and J Errol Lewis, executive chairman at Junior Achievement of T&T.
As one of the founders of Uniquely Worthy, La Foucade was excited by the highest-ever student turnout and saw it as a validation of the workshop’s mission to help young people Discover the Uniqueness Within YOU-TH.
“For me, it’s an indescribable joy to see the positive energy of young people on full display. People often find fault in today’s youth, but through these workshops, I am moving away from branding them as a problem and instead, making them a part of the solution. We show them that they are uniquely individual and worthy of the future. I look at these young people and I see a bright future for our nation,” La Foucade explained.
Mayaro Secondary School teacher, Trudy Harripaul, and a number of her colleagues from various schools, served as observers and gave feedback on the session.
According to Harripaul, “The enthusiastic participation of these students was as inspirational to me as I am sure the workshop was to them. As a teacher in Mayaro, I have been privileged to see firsthand the positive investments bpTT has made in young people and this collaboration with United Way is giving young people a sense of purpose and direction that will serve them well, not only in academics, but in life overall. This was truly a Uniquely Worthy experience.”
The second workshop will host secondary students from north Trinidad and will be held at Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre on March 21.