Rate this
0 (0 votes)
Nurturing future leaders
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

Nurturing future leaders

Future Leaders is a thriving youth organization that offers study, service and mentorship opportunities to young people in Bermuda.
Shannay Williams, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from St. Thomas, Jamaica spoke to founder Ryan Robinson Perinchief. The 22-year-old law student at the University of Durham was a finalist in the 2019 Commonwealth Youth Awards.

What inspired you to start Future Leaders Bermuda?

I was getting tired of seeing people talking about issues affecting young people without including them in the conversation. Poverty, gang violence, education and the environment are all issues that will impact young people more than anyone else, but a lot of them either felt like they weren’t being listened to, or didn’t know enough to make a difference. I felt that if young people were given a safe environment to not only talk about these issues but learn about them hands-on, they’d be in a better position to become leaders in the future and take action – from an informed, empowered and youth-led perspective.

How is Future Leaders changing the status quo?

Most young people are already energetic, passionate, and creative on their own. Once you combine that with opportunities for development, and a safe space to voice their opinion, the potential to disrupt the status quo is limitless. That’s where we come in – by simply fostering an environment where our youth are inspired to lead, encouraged to ask questions and think critically, and empowered to make their voices heard. Gone are the days when young people must be told to ‘wait their turn’. We simply hope to be a part of that movement – young people taking up the mantle to create a change no matter where they are, on issues they care about.

How does the programme work?

Some of the key areas of focus for us include poverty, crime & inequality, social Justice, entrepreneurship & activism, community building and activism. Students might study academic texts on the causes of poverty, then go out into the community and work at a homeless shelter, followed by a presentation from an expert in the field in the hope that by the end of the programme, students feel knowledgeable enough to form their own opinions and create their own solutions to issues which matter most to them.  In addition to engaging young people in the summer, the programme also partners with other organisations to give students opportunities to develop their skills throughout the rest of the year.
They participate in debates and workshops, speak up at youth forums, start small businesses, and meet with government and industry leaders, all throughout the year.

In what ways do you expect Future Leaders to expand?

We recently announced a new partnership with a boarding school in the United States which will allow a number of our future leaders to study entrepreneurship abroad. In the long term, we’re exploring opportunities to collaborate with youth organisations across the region to create a cultural exchange. Many of us in the Commonwealth face common challenges – particularly across the Caribbean and many places in Africa. There is power in youth unity, which can help us work towards a better future for us all.

What advice would you give to young people who are interested in starting projects with similar aims to Future Leaders?

Go for it! When I started Future Leaders in 2017, I had never anticipated that it would become anything more than a summer course…but I was amazed at how quickly other young people jumped on board and made it into what it is today. One thing led to another, and it has now snowballed into something greater. In the same way, all you need to do is take the first step. Don’t be afraid to make a plan, have a vision, and just take it one step at a time.

What tips would you give to young people interested in building their leadership skills?

Seek out opportunities anywhere and everywhere, and don’t ever limit yourself or underestimate your potential. Be flexible and open-minded, with the understanding that leadership is something to be both studied and implemented. That means in addition to reading, thinking and questioning, you should also practice leadership in daily life – there is a lesson to be taken from every situation and everyone you meet. But most importantly, take the time to reflect, understand yourself and your own principles, so that you can develop the confidence to guide yourself when challenges inevitably arise.

Photo credit: Future Leaders

The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work highlights the contributions of young people who are making a difference in their communities and celebrates their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me: I am a vibrant and passionate 20-year-old. I value my West Indian identity and hope to spark dialogue through my writing and constant search for understanding. I believe in service above self and ama proud student of the University of the West Indies.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments