Members of the South Chapter of the Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals held their inaugural back-to-school drive on Friday in San Fernando, just weeks after the chapter was launched.
Chairman Rondell Donawa told Newsday that 24 students from San Fernando and environs received school supplies, as well as a $300 voucher from Keith Khan's bookstore.
He said the seven executives of the chapter pooled their resources and, with the help of the bookstore and a former Cocoyea resident, Kevin Regis, made the initiative a success. Regis now lives in Toronto, Donawa said, but wanted to give back to his community.
Donawa, a founding foundation member, is also an attorney and calypsonian.
The south chapter was launched on July 14 in San Fernando.
The distribution took place at San Fernando City Corporation's auditorium. Marabella West councillor Michael Johnson delivered the feature address.
Johnson quoted the late Nelson Mandela as saying education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.
Johnson added, "We live in a time where almost any information is only a click or Google search away. a time of technological disruption and relentless innovation.
"We need a workforce of people in TT who are equipped and ready to do just as Mr Mandela said, to change the world."
"That is why an initiative such as this is timely. The Heliconia Foundation continues to lead the way and blaze a trail in ensuring that our nation's youth aren't left behind, so I commend them for that."
The Government, Johnson said, has been doubling and tripling down on its investment into young people over the last seven years.
He referred to the National Youth Policy of Trinidad and Tobago and all the programmes the Youth Development and National Service Ministry offers.
Johnson praised Dr Keith Rowley as well as line minister Foster Cummings for "truly leading the way in investing in our young people."
To the students, Johnson said, "This life is not about where you've come from but where you are going. My mantra for this year has been that you have what you need and what you want is in your command."
He encouraged them to put their best foot forward in any and everything they do, and it would lead them in good stead.
The south executive comprises, as well as Donawa, vice-chairman and Cocoyea/Tarouba councillor Teresa Lynch, Jesse Moss, Craig Anamad, Makesi Peters, Frank Gittens and Leah Balkaran.