Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has underscored the importance of volunteerism in today's society, saying it takes a person from a self-centred approach to life to one based on the giving and sharing of his talents.
He made the remarks at the Duke of Edinburgh Fundraising Dinner and Dance Saturday night at Hilton Barbados, which was attended by a number of dignitaries, including Governor General, Sir Elliott Belgrave and Their Royal Highnesses, The Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Mr. Stuart told his audience that volunteering teaches young people that everyone has something to offer to their communities and to the world, however small. "[Volunteering teaches] that each of us is required to help our brothers and sisters even in the simplest of ways; and that each of us can indeed make a positive difference to our families, our communities, our churches, our institutions [and] our world," he stated.
Describing the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme as thriving and making an indelible contribution to societal relations, he pointed out that in 2013 the Barbados chapter of the scheme registered an increase of 50 per cent in new entrants over the previous year.
He opined that the programme assisted young people in broadening their world, while at the same time teaching them control, discipline and team work. He praised the young people of Barbados who participate in the Scheme, as well as those who provide oversight and mentoring for the programme.
"For when adults take time to groom and develop our youth they are building our nation, and making a meaningful investment into its future, ensuring that it is one of promise rather than sorrow," the Prime Minister surmised.
Mr. Stuart said that approximately 300,000 young people across the world participated in Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes in 2013 and a similar number is expected in 2014.
(Sharon Austin-Gill-Moore - BGIS)