By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Gospel singer Ricardo Clarke was recently able to take his "Occupy" youth mentorship programme beyond the Bahamas to New York City.
The "Occupy" initiative aims to shape character, teach discipline, foster business acumen and promote health within the youth. Core areas of the programme include education, vocation/trade, entrepreneurship, faith, philanthropy, health, financial literacy, and etiquette.
Several events held under the programme's umbrella have already addressed various areas of "Occupy". One event in particular, "Mission Male Seed", was held last month and attracted more than 70 young men from different communities. It featured speakers that helped educate participants on pertinent issues such as conflict resolution, discipline, identity, peer pressure and much more.
During his visit to New York, Mr Clarke met with Ambassador Sheila Carey, who is the Bahamas' representative to the United Nations.
"We discussed cultural exchange, leadership and the programme 'Occupy', which is impacting hundreds of students and has as its focus character and career," said he said.
Mr Clarke said he has several most trips planned to meet with people in positions where they can affect change - ambassadors, high commissioners and consulate officers.
"My meeting with the Ambassador in New York was a fruitful one. She shared her experiences, commended me on the programme's progress and made suggestions as to which programmes of the United Nations can possibly benefit from what I'm doing. Ambassador Carey was a kind, helpful and gracious host. I was enriched by the experience and embraced it as an opportunity to create new relationships that will ultimately benefit the children that enrol in the programme each year," said Ricardo.
The entertainer is happy to share that this month, the "Occupy" mentorship programme saw 33 participants graduate. Mr Clarke said he is looking forward to more international connections to improve his approach and relevance in youth empowerment related matters. He believes that ultimately all who enrol in the upcoming school semester will benefit from what he has to offer.