Nominations are open for government’s fourth round of the “Proud of Them” initiative, which recognizes outstanding young people from across the Cayman Islands.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Youth Minister Osbourne Bodden relaunched the National Youth Commission program and said the initiative serves to highlight the many achievements of Cayman’s young men and women.
Their achievements are laudable, he said, in a time when young people must overcome obstacles that range from unemployment and education related challenges to increased exposure to drugs and crime. He added that government regards the welfare of youth as a matter of national importance.
Members of the public are urged to nominate individuals, aged 10-25 years, who stand out in one of the following areas: academics, sports, career, culture, business or community service. Nominations for the program will be accepted until Friday, May. 29.
The 12 finalists will be featured for a six-month period on billboards mounted across the Cayman Islands, featured in the media, and awarded a certificate and stipend of $500.
Joel Francis, chairman of the Proud of Them Committee, said it will take a week to do the evaluations, after which committee members will prepare the billboards to and get them installed in early June.
Mr. Francis said the committee members will be looking for evidence in the nomination submissions that the each of the nominees has demonstrated significant achievement, responsibility, leadership qualities, participated in a wide variety of events, is hardworking, and has persevered in particular challenges and risen above them. The committee will also look for evidence that the nominees motivate other young people among their peers.
“So far, in the past we have had up to 150 nominations per round and we are looking for that kind of response again. We will be making the announcement in early June as to the 12 that have been selected,” Mr. Francis said.
National Youth Commission Chairman Rev. Donovan Myers said that in a time when many perceive our youth to be disinterested, uninhibited and uninvolved, the majority of young people in the Cayman islands are aware, astute and focused on achieving success. He said there were many more young people engaged in positive behaviors than there are headed in the wrong direction.
“This initiative, then, provides the needed acknowledgement and reward for positive behavior while it creates a benchmark for other youth to emulate,” Rev. Myers said.
Proud of Them nomination forms are available at www.mcays.gov.ky.