THE young people of TT have another opportunity to further their development via the ALMA Scholars Mentorship Programme which is now open to applicants 15-19 years old.
Founded and managed by the Kenneth Cyril Valley (KCV) Foundation, the programme empowers and connects young scholars with local leaders, while also exposing them to legislative and public service opportunities. It also supports their community service and environmentally-friendly efforts.
One year ago, KCV launched its mentorship programme and connected scholars with a group of mentors including entrepreneurs Dionyse and Wendy Fitzwilliam; activist, Kareem Marcelle and Senator Ayanna Lewis. The inaugural group of scholars developed independent research projects, visited Parliament and attended the TEDxPortOfSpain Ideas Worth Spreading conference.
Last year's scholarship winner Anissa Williams said the programme impacted her life. "My experience with ALMA is one I will never forget. I was able to interact with amazing mentors and scholars who have similar interests as I do and I learnt things I will take with me for the rest of my life!” she said in a media release.
Drawing upon the lessons from the programme, the ALMA scholars also conceptualised and launched the #MyLastBottle campaign, to call for the elimination of single-use plastics across TT.
The 2019 scholarship winner Yohance Huggins-Charles said the programme has opened up his views on world issues.
“The KCV ALMA Scholars Programme has opened my thinking about certain issues and topics in the world around me. Meeting the mentors was exceptional and being able to come up with the My Last Plastic Bottle project was great and especially informative for me as I want to pursue a career in public policy development.”
The programme also incorporates relaxed professional development sessions, or "family chats" into its curriculum.
Programme manager for the foundation Aliya Allen-Valley explained: “Family chat is an integral element of the programme. It supplements the exposure to different mentors every two weeks by allowing our team to engage and connect with our scholars. These candid and fun conversations provide another layer and allow us to hone in on building skill sets, strategising on achieving goals, and making deeper connections. For us, the scholars have really become an extension of family.
“The most exciting thing about the ALMA programme is the pipeline it creates for scholars to remain engaged even after the ALMA year ends. We have seen this model really resonate with the scholars who have gone on to secure scholarships, university acceptances, and leadership positions within their respective communities.”
The foundation was incorporated in 2012. Since then, it has actively worked to empower people through community service, mentorship programmes and scholarships. Recognising the late Ken Valley’s dedication to education and “service to people,” the foundation aims to continue this legacy throughout the region.
Applications for the programme are now open and can be made at:
www.thekcvfoundation.org/mentorship or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org