Secondary school students who never met each other were given a few minutes to get to know each other, exchange ideas and come up with solutions to problems which have bedevilled world leaders for decades.
They participated in a youth leadership and empowerment seminar at the MovieTowne conference centre hosted by WE Schools Caribbean, a Canadian charity which has replaced the RBC Young Leaders.
RBC managing director Darryl White said in a statement read by the bank’s senior manager Hazel-Ann Marshall, “maybe now more than ever it is important that companies support communities and social programmes in Trinidad and Tobago.”
White’s statement said that RBC and WE have been in partnership in Canada since 2012, promoting service learning and community engagement among youth through integrated, schools-based programmes.
“Our partnership with the WE team has led to the formation of Young Leaders/WE Schools, which broadens the scope and reach of our Young Leaders programme. For more than 30 years the Young Leaders programme has impacted the lives of thousands and while we don’t know the exact numbers – everywhere you go in this country you are sure to find a former Young Leader,” he said.
More than 250 youths from schools across the country were expected to attend the conference. White said the opportunity to expand the Young Leaders programme was willingly embraced by the bank, adding: “This is where we see our higher purpose, making an impact on young lives. We also encourage our corporate partners to join us on this journey.”
Temporary Independent senator, Nikolai Edwards, who has joined the WE Schools coordinating team in Trinidad, was one of the facilitators for the break out session at the conference, which brought together hundreds of students at a time for an exercise designed to encourage discussion and dialogue about the problems they had to solve.
Edwards said the programme can make a difference in the lives of young people.
“As part of my role working with the WE Schools team and with RBC, I go out to the schools and meet with scores of young people. We all see what is happening in our country with many young people and even my story is an example of what is taking place. I want to tell you that our people can make a significant contribution to change what is happening today. They need a chance, they need guidance and support.”