March 29, 2023

“Proud of Them” Round 3

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Proud of Them -Minister &Duo ssRemarks by the Hon. Minister Osbourne Bodden

May 2014.

Government faces so many issues of national importance, and is tasked with so many critical projects and policies, that some may query the time and effort we dedicate to this initiative each year.

The answer is that, for us, Proud of Them is a no-brainer. We need only speak to the young people around us, to realise the talent that abides in our homes and schools.

Furthermore this initiative requires comparatively little resources, especially compared to the budgets for family-assistance, punitive and security issues.

Proud of them  ssssBeyond that question, the youthful faces we have focused on for the past year deserve prominence.

As role models and high achievers, these invaluable young people do more to guide and direct their peers and siblings, than anything we could formulate in the boardrooms of Government – or in the private sector.

Today’s recipients collectively embody the essence of what we want our children to be, yet they are also independent, individual, young men and women. Everywhere we look they are moving to prominence on student councils, theatre and bands, debating groups and even beauty pageants.

They range from the national representatives in academics and sports, who are accustomed to the spotlight; to those who work with great commitment in the background – some of them far out of sight.

Today, we are seeking to ensure that these children do not remain out of mind, but that we, and generations to follow, trumpet their youthful vision and ambitions.

Proud of Them group sssBetween the Youth Assembly, last week’s Science Fair, National Children’s Festival of the Arts, spelling bees, general knowledge quizzes and many other events there are many opportunities for young people to excel, and to display their prowess in areas – from academics to their workplaces.

This Proud of Them campaign is dedicated to lifting these promising youth to greater heights, in more ways than one.

Yes, you will soon see the new billboards, but this national platform also serves to enhance their self-esteem, and garner wider community support for their positive efforts.

ProudSuch recognition is a small token in return for their significant attainments in academics, their careers, in business, sports, culture or community service.

I must note, as I did last year, that the overarching provisions of the National Youth Policy, and the new National Youth Commission, which will be announced in the near future, are the guiding forces behind my Ministry’s work

So too, Government’s first inter-ministerial committee, which now sees Chief Officers and other senior staff meeting on a regular basis to ensure that youth interests are embedded in the gamut of official policies and undertakings.

Of course, we all realise that while our youth face challenges at home, school and work, there are many role models that they can look to for inspiration, such as these showcased today.

Regardless of the issues or hindrances to young lives, I must also remind everyone that there are many programmes and professionals who are willing and ready to intervene, support and guide our children, and their parents and extended families – where necessary.

The ideal is that we balance our responses to their teenage years, with focus on the numerous positive opportunities available, from scholarships, to outlets for their creative, mechanical and professional interests.

Today I urge everyone to join me and my Ministry in paying tribute to our young ambassadors. I commend everyone who submitted these and many other names for consideration, and I know the evaluation group had no easy task in choosing from among the nominations.

In so doing, we will all take the torch forward, and continue to inspire young people – hopefully now and for the foreseeable future.

I thank the many parents, relatives, educators, coaches and community members who have undoubtedly taken the time to guide and shape these young lives.

I also applaud the private sector benefactors who, on a regular basis, step up with scholarships and other opportunities. They are vital partners in building a stronger, smarter and more efficient Cayman Islands.

Again, my heartfelt congratulations to the Proud of Them recipients. I look forward to another successful and long-lasting campaign.

Thank you.




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