Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 09, 2021 (SKNIS): Lejourn Thompson and Tchaikowsky York proudly endorsed the Volunteer Corps and encouraged their peers to be open-minded about the experiences afforded to them.
The young men shared their personal stories as volunteers with the programme on Wednesday, December 08, 2021. They did so at a ceremony at the Immaculate Conception Catholic School (ICCS) Auditorium. At the ceremony, 316 tertiary level students were inducted into the 2021-2022 Volunteer Corps.
As an enrollee on the Support for the Advancement of Future Education (SAFE) programme Mr. Thompson, now a second-year student at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), must perform four hours of community service every month. He recounted how he neglected to visit the Department of Youth Empowerment during his first year, to add his name to a group chat where various assignments are posted, and students volunteer their service. He eventually registered but failed to volunteer for an assignment over three months. He was subsequently red-flagged and called into a meeting where he was advised to complete 12 hours of community service to remain eligible for a Safe Grant.
Mr. Thompson reached out to his Pastor and was assigned projects where he was able to accomplish the necessary hours. He has since grown tremendously in the Volunteer Corps and is now a team leader on projects. Leo, as he is frequently called, encouraged the new members, noting that the experiences are rewarding.
“You signed up for this to volunteer and help other people, so if you don’t want to go on the red-flag list don’t be like me,” he said. “I almost got kicked out of the chat and out of the SAFE programme and that is not a good thing.”
Tchaikowsky York joined the Volunteer Corps when it was launched in 2018. He is now employed full time but still finds the time to pay it forward as a Corps member. He credited his time as a volunteer for much of his personal development.
“I have gained a lot,” he said. “I don’t like public speaking, and yet I am here talking to you. As a volunteer, I have been exposed to a lot of things. I travelled. I was even given a job,” Mr. York added, noting that his work ethic during volunteer service was noticed by several persons who eagerly endorsed him during job applications.
Mr. York challenged everyone in the ICCS Auditorium to embrace St. Kitts and Nevis’ motto: Country Above Self.