Volunteer options for students showcased

| 09/07/2018
CNS Local Life

National Drug Council representatives discuss volunteer options with students

(CNS Local Life): More than 700 students from six high schools attended the Cayman Islands’ first-ever Student Volunteer Fair at the John Gray High School Gymnasium on Friday, 22 June. Organised by the Youth Services Unit (YSU) of the Ministry of Education, the fair, designed to fulfil a need by bringing together students with many of the islands’ non-profit organisations and charities, attracted 20 exhibitors.

The all-day event comprised organisations covering a diverse range of community-service options for students who will have to complete no less than 10 voluntary work hours to graduate, stated a press release. Students were able to speak to representatives about their organisations and the many volunteer opportunities available year round.

Minister for Education Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, speaking at the afternoon session, urged attendees to take full advantage of the opportunities the fair represented for both giving back to the community and deepening their sense of civic responsibility.

O’Connor-Connolly said she hoped that the fair would become an annual event given its success and how well it aligned to her ministry’s education and youth objectives.

“As Minister for Education, I am pleased to see such a large turnout of students, voluntary groups and teachers,” she said. “I’m especially pleased to see attendees from Cayman Brac here, too.

“As a caring community and a responsible government, we must provide opportunities for our youth to develop into hardworking and compassionate adults. My ministry believes that education twinned with structured voluntary work is an excellent way to achieve these goals. Only by giving to your community can you truly become invested in it.”

YSU head Katherine Whittaker also addressed the participants, which included a number of teachers and principals. “The Youth Services Unit is committed to ensuring that young people are meaningfully involved in our communities,” she said in the press release.

“We want all young people to become engaged in community projects and causes as one of the means of finding their place in our society. We want them to understand the importance of giving without expecting anything in return, to experience the joy of volunteering and to be a part of a group of like-minded people, making valuable contributions to the cause of their choice.

CNS Local Life

Participants gathered for the raffle prize draw

“There is a cause and organisation for everyone. And for those organisations that don’t yet exist or where there are gaps we want young people to learn how to meet such needs,” she added.

Mona Lisa Meade, coordinator for exhibitor National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), said of the event: “It’s important for our young people to be exposed to the realities of life and to be encouraged to know that they can help no matter their age. “This is a great event and we are so happy to be able to share what the NCVO does and offer up ideas of simple ways the students can assist us and our clients by volunteering. I hope this event continues to grow and through it we can encourage our youth to live a life of service.”

During the event, students also had the opportunity to win prizes including  an iPhone 8+, cash and various gift certificates.

Exhibitor YMCA won a $1,000 cash prize raffled courtesy of event sponsor, Island Heritage, which through a raffle also awarded the Cayman National Cultural Foundation one of the three spots in the company’s CharityDrive 2019 that provides an opportunity to earn up to $15,000 for the organisation.

The insurance firm’s head of marketing, Monique Both awarded those two prizes. “Giving back to our community is at the core of who we are at Island Heritage and we are truly inspired to see kids embracing its importance from a young age,” she said. “We are proud to have been involved in the inaugural volunteer fair and congratulate organisers on its success.”

The other organisations that took part were Cayman HospiceCare, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Cayman Islands Humane Society, Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, One Dog At A Time, Feed Our Future, YMCA of the Cayman Islands, National Drug Council, Cayman Islands Cancer Society, Acts Of Random Kindness, Plastic-Free Cayman, Special Olympics Cayman Islands, Cayman Drama Society, National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Impact 345, Lions Club (with the Leos Club), Kiwanis Club (with the Key Club) and the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

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Category: Community, High School, Schools, Service Organisations

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