Far too often the main hindrance that prevents young people from dreaming and undertaking their dreams is the perceptions of others based on the neighbourhoods these youth live, the schools they attended, or the people they know.
This from UNICEF youth advocate Ashley Lashley, who implored young people in the future not to allow the opinions of others to determine their destiny. Lashley’s comments punctuated an evening of encouraging words from young people to their peers during the National Youth Service 2022.
The National Youth Service was a moment of resounding joy as throngs of young people from across the island gathered at the Wildey Gymnasium to mark the commencement of National Youth Week.
Youngsters from various religious denominations as well as youth and community organisations celebrated their occasion with a fun-packed evening that lasted around two hours. The event was also attended by President of Barbados, Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason as well as Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, whose ministry hosted the affair under the theme: “A Safe Space for Youth in Religion”.
Lashley, who was the featured speaker, also posed several questions to her peers in the hope of them being reflective of their identity, their purpose, ideology and being what she called change makers. Whether it was in them living their dreams, downing the guns and rebuilding Barbados into a better and more peaceful society.
Lashley doubled down on her encouragement of young people.
“Today, right this moment our sentence of doubt ends, today our sentence of vision, victory and emancipation thrives. Friends, we fly, like a phoenix as we emerged from the fire and today we are made stronger by what killed us yesterday. There will always be people who wouldn’t understand what is different but that wouldn’t and shouldn’t be an excuse to not fight for your dreams and to stop dreaming, to stop being who you are, and that’s what I will like to tell you all today to give yourselves a hand, a round of applause. Be who you are. Be who you want to be but never stop fighting for your dreams,” Lashley encouraged.