By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Youngsters attending the recent leadership event hosted by gospel singer Ricardo Clarke learned that God wants them to celebrate their differences and stand out in a crowd.
The event was held under Mr Clarke’s growing ‘Occupy’ brand. The singer, radio personality and motivational speaker explained that Occupy is a self-development programme that seeks to shape character, foster discipline, business sense and health within the youth.
At this latest Occupy event, held at the National Training Agency on Gladstone Road, he invited students and faculty members of schools such as C W Sawyer to share in the vision and goals for the future of the programme.
Topics addressed were: “Finding and Embracing My Difference”, “Where is My Difference Best Suited”, and “Making a Difference with My Difference.”
Strongly believing in the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, Mr Clarke is promoting his mentorship programme to help children identify, develop and demonstrate the leader in all of them.
“We are occupying certain spaces right now...I am occupying a space in broadcasting, music and the arts, but at some point we will need persons to take these places, which will be the kids that will rise of from this programme, and hopefully other places. And that is what this is all about, to get them to think about where they want to occupy and dominate,” Mr Clarke told Tribune Religion.
“The earlier we start to train them in these areas, the more proficient they can be, and they won’t spend their life catching up; they can spend it more so blazing the trails.”
Addressing the 55 students in attendance, C W Sawyer’s head boy Jayden Cooper and head girl Kaitlin Bodie talked about their potential and the difference a person can make in the world if they only apply themselves and place God at the centre.
“We had a wonderful time, and it was about helping them to understand that God has placed something unique inside their lives, and it is unique for a reason. Blending in isn’t something that God wants for you, he wants you to stand out. So your difference is a sign that God wants you to make a difference,” said Mr Clarke.
“While I have influence, while I am relevant, and while my voice means something, this is an opportune time to make a difference. It’s a time where persons are listening, they value what I think, and the only thing I ever want to do is get there attention to place a positive message of Christ in their ears. I want to encourage people so I am just lending a helping hand as well.”
Going forward, Mr Clarke said persons can look forward to more events that will promote character-building, career choices, etiquette, and more.
“I actually had a run in at the mall where five kids that were a part of the programme last year. They told me they hoped I was coming back to their school. They were really engaged with the programme and I was just happy to see children remember so much. It was an indication that we are doing something right,” he said.