TRIBUNE Features editor Noelle Nicolls was among a select group of Bahamians awarded grants for their community-based programmes engaging at-risk youth.
The professionals, from a wide cross section of society, were recognised on Wednesday at the US Chief of Mission’s “Liberty Overlook” residence.
The goal of the embassy’s 2012 State Alumni Youth Outreach Small Grants Programme is to foster youth leadership development through support of community-based projects led by alumni of US Department of State exchange programmes, which include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships, the International Visitor Leadership Programme, Summer Institutes, and SportsUnited Leadership through Sports Programme.
During the brief ceremony, US Chargé d’Affaires John Armstrong described the importance of providing at-risk youth with an opportunity to recognise their innate talents and leadership skills.
Mr Armstrong commended the five recipients for recognising the need for community-based programmes to encourage young people in New Providence and the Family Islands to overcome obstacles and become successful and productive citizens.
He remarked that when a young life is lost, especially to violence, not only is it a loss for the family, but also for the country.
The US Chargé also presented certificates of appreciation to the five small grant recipients.
Tribune editor Ms Nicolls was awarded a grant to support The Indaba Project, which hosted a 10-day camp known as the “Island Stewards” that exposed 20 underserved Bahamian youth to a transformative series of experiences and challenges, designed to deepen their understanding of the environment and culture of the Bahamas.
The camp engaged students in a holistic approach to collaborative community service and activities designed to promote conservation and sustainable practices.
The other grant winners were:
• Antonius Roberts, on behalf of the National Bench Programme, a woodworking apprenticeship that seeks to encourage young adults in Andros and Abaco into the trade.
The project aims to create an artisan and carpenter community while encouraging environmental sustainability through the use of scrap wood and other discarded materials.
Due to the opening of his Hillside Gallery exhibit, Mr Robert’s brother Bruno Roberts accepted the award on his behalf.
• Therena Cunningham on behalf of STRAW Girls.
STRAW (strengthening, transforming, restoring and affirming young women) is a development organisation which provides a safe, positive and structured mentoring and advocacy programmes for adolescent girls, teens and young women.
• Dr David Burrows on behalf of the Winners Touch, a mentoring and life coaching programme for young persons. The goal is to create quality leaders with integrity by providing training in personal finance, leadership and how to foster good relationships.
Nikita Shiel-Rolle on behalf of Young Marine Explorers, a non-profit environmental organisation committed to providing transformational educational experiences to young Bahamians. They strive to inspire young Bahamians to find their personal passion by introducing them to the Bahamian environment and offering learning opportunities in outdoor classrooms.