The project which is dubbed, “the 25 Most Remarkable Teens in St. Kitts, is modeled after a similar initiative in the United States.
It is being spearheaded by Peace Corps Volunteer Connie Howard Leach, who said a similar idea was introduced in 2003 in Riverside, California. The effort was endorsed by local authorities including the city mayor and has since grown to become an outstanding award program that has helped to change the lives of recipients and inspire hundreds more.
It is hoped that through this program, the positive activities of young people in St. Kitts and Nevis will be celebrated in grand style. The event is being organized by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment as it seeks to uplift the image of the youth population.
Leach said the project will recognize youth who have truly set themselves apart from their peers and demonstrated leadership skills through social, education, environment, health, economic and/or legal issues facing their communities.
“From my perspective, it is always 10 percent of the kids who get all of the attention and generally it is for negative behaviour,” she said, noting that the remaining 90 percent are lost in the shadows. “… So this is a way of recognizing the accomplishments of really the majority of young people and giving some positive attention to them.”
“We’re hoping it can become an annual program (in St. Kitts and Nevis) that young people will look toward and want to become involved in,” Ms. Howard Leach stated. “I would like it also to build more of a relationship between young people and adults in the community [and] maybe even uncover some mentors for some of these young people …”
Persons are encouraged to nominate deserving individuals between the ages of 12 to 19 who have excelled in academics, activism, art, civic involvement, service, courage to overcome, photography, hobbies, spiritual commitment, music, sports and other fields.
A complete list of the categories and nomination forms are available at the Department of Youth on Church Street and at all secondary schools.
Nominations forms must be returned to the Youth Department by June 24, 2011.