Annual Youth Leadership Events: how our brightest young leaders influence change

Our Annual Youth Leadership Events (AYLE) are a crucial component of our leadership program. They’re where our brightest and best leaders, many fired up by attending the Global Youth Leadership Summit in California, come back and ensure that these messages and lessons are passed on to all of our young potential leaders. It’s hard to overstate how much we appreciate the students who lead these events, but we did recently host a thank you dinner for them. Makara was just one of the attendees. Makara is bright, friendly, gregarious, energetic and committed to creating a better future for his community and country. His positivity is always inspiring. Here is his leadership story.

“I couldn’t go to school much when I was younger. I lived with my grandparents out in the provinces, and my Grandfather made a small amount of money cutting down trees and selling them. One day when I was 11 years old, I met a staff member from CCF while I was out looking for crabs, and they invited me to study with CCF. I had missed so much school that I was only in grade 2.

“I joined the Leadership Program when I was 14, first teaching English to younger CCF kids, then helping with the Food Program and mentoring. I wanted to share my skills with children who didn’t have what I had. I would say “I am from a poor family but I have learnt things and you can learn from me”. My experience helped me to understand the challenges faced by other people who were poor.

“The team at AYLE knew I could coach other kids to be motivated and learn leadership. It was great to work with my friends, to be brave and stand in front of other people. It gave me more confidence. It was the next stage of my leadership journey, and I learnt lots of new skills.

“I would tell kids that “there is no such thing as a wrong answer if you believe it”. Some younger kids were shy but with encouragement, they would speak up. Sometimes I would dance just to show them that you can be brave and be a leader. And everyone would dance with me and it would break down barriers. It would bond the group and join us together.

“I think a good leader is someone who knows when to lead and when to follow, how to be part of a team. Scott is a great leader because he shares his knowledge and his experiences and knowledge with others. He shares what he has. I am now in my second year of an Electrical Engineering degree, and without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have never known another person like Scott – a person who gives up everything to help children, to help people who are poor.”

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