What is the Youth Development Programme (YDP)?
In 2003, soon after the Foundation was established, we sought to engage a number of young people from various backgrounds, in a project called the Youth Pilot Programme.
The uniqueness of this programme is founded on the team structure. The First group came from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, and included those with physical challenges. They met regularly, attending various workshops (e.g. drama, art and drug abuse). They engaged in community work, and through regular contact with each other, learned how to care for and consider the needs of others.
The programme was rated as a success as the members were able to work as teammates and deliver Improvement Implementation Proposal (IIP). Each IIP submitted was to propose a way forward for a tangible improvement for the physically challenged schools involved.
These students came from:
- St. Micheal’s Home for Boys
- St. Francois Girls’ College
- Princess Elizabeth Learning Centre
- Maple Leaf International School
- School for the Blind, Santa Cruz
- Cascade School for the Deaf
The Youth Pilot Programme has since developed, and is now known as the Youth Development Programme (YDP). The very first students of the Youth Pilot Programme are now referred to as the Pioneers of the YDP, and continue to be a part of the Heroes Foundation’s family.
The Expansion Of The YDP
In 2004, the YDP first expanded into six (6) schools in Port-of-Spain and along the East-West Corridor.
Through the YDP, Heroes Foundation engages teams within our secondary school system, inviting Form 2 students to become members of Heroes Youth Development Teams. All members of our YDP volunteer to be part of the programme and are made life long members of the Foundation by our Patron, The President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The overall goal of the Foundation will be achieved through engaging the youths in positive endeavours, which will heighten their awareness and appreciation of commitment to achievement of their goals and people in society. The YDP Teams, which are made up of students from the respective schools, and the Heroes Foundation staff, will accomplish this by:
- Facilitating motivational and educational events/forums
- Providing individual and group mentoring opportunities
- Complimenting the academic experience
- Promoting the holistic personal development of the students.
In addition, the foundation will also:
- Foster confidence and self-esteem by giving them opportunities to support and assist the under-privileged and differently-able through volunteer programmes
- Conduct and provide research into career paths of their interest during their time in the team
- Give support and assistance where possible in other interests such as sports, culture and arts
We believe that the youth participating in the programme will:
- Have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their countrymen
- Become more aware of opportunities for their future in the areas of social responsibility & career building
- Start the wheel of change in relation to common stereotypes in our society
Formation Of A YDP Team
Secondary schools who become members of our YDP will be structured in the following manner:
- A teacher is nominated to be a point of contact within the school
- A prefect is nominated to be the team supervisor
- A maximum of twenty (20) members will be sourced from Form Two (2)
It is suggested that meetings should be held once per week, at each school during which members will:
- Identify motivational and educational events/ forums for their form and school
- Identify ways in which HF can effectively reach out to our country’s young people
- Plan and discuss upcoming HF events and school participation
- Report on the status of current projects
- Discuss any other pressing issues
- Part take in Heroes Foundation’s ( HF) “My School Hero Project”
- Act as the focus group for various Heroes Foundation (HF) projects
The supervising teacher or prefect should be present at all meetings. Notes of all meetings will be taken and forwarded to the Youth Development Coordinator.
At this point:
- They will be Reviewed and filed
- Feedback on the minutes will be sent to the supervising teacher and HF Team Leaders & passed onto members at the next meeting
- A Coordinator will be present at each school meeting at least once every six weeks
Workshops, Seminars, Motivational Presentations
This element will provide the students with opportunities to further their all round development in areas that will improve their ability to cope with their studies, supplement their morals, and contribute to their all round development ensuring that they become productive, virtuous members of society.
- Time management
- Cultural history and appreciation
- Environmental awareness
- Personal hygiene and etiquette
- Career guidance
School principals will also be asked to identify other areas that they would like to have addressed by the Foundation. This will allow the programme to be tailored to suit the individual needs of each participating school. The topics will be dealt with in the form of motivational presentations made to the school’s entire student body and may be repeated for the benefit of other schools in the programme.
Events & Projects Of The YDP
Trinidad and Tobago partakes in the International Coastal Clean-up Day which the members of the Heroes Youth Teams are active participants.
While it may seem to be just “a day on the beach” the youth participating are learning about the devastation of litter and pollution first hand. Their involvement in cleaning up the beaches and recording the information has taught many of them about the value of taking a trash bag to the beach.
The Foundation appreciates the work that these young people do, and give them the opportunity to show the country their results by presenting them at our Heroes Convention. There each member school gets the space and time to educate attendees of their achievements throughout the year.
There are two major submissions by the YDP teams – an Improvement Project to be implemented in their school or community and a research project entitled “My School Hero” (MSH). The teams submit a visual depiction of a person from their school or community who can be considered a HERO. The submitted story, once approved, is recreated in a wall hanging which is placed in the respective school and showcased atHF events in an attractive manner and clearly identifies the person and his/her achievement.