Marie Benjamin ::Guest Author::
While studying international development as an undergraduate student, I longed for that coveted international experience. Instead, my first experience within the field of development studies was regional. In July 2012, I volunteered with the Power to Be International (P2B) at their literacy and leadership summer camp in Negril, Jamaica. To speak plainly, the experience blew my mind. I was not only able to explore another Caribbean island in a way that I had ever experienced any other, but it also opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist within the power of youth, and youth engagement in our region.
In camp P2B, there were three groups of literacy learners, two groups of young leaders and a group of employment trainees. Throughout the two weeks, I had the opportunity to work in all areas of the camp. I met some awesome young people, who were not only working on improving their lives, but also empowering others to do the same. Volunteering in an environment with over 60, 7-17 year olds was, without a doubt, overwhelming. However, the experience was extremely rewarding as I immediately began to imagine the possibilities that a camp like P2B’s can bring for the community of Negril, other communities in Jamaica, and other Caribbean islands. The volunteer experience was also coupled with “touristy”adventures where we learned about Jamaican history, culture and lifestyle. In hindsight, volunteering within the region exposed the poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment existing in our own backyard. This has propelled me to share the opportunity of camp P2B for 2013, where we can all be a part of youth engagement in the region!
::The Power to Be International::
The Power to Be International is a registered charity in Canada, that is driven to empower youth communities around the world through its programs and resources. The organization believes in regional development and continues to extend its reach in Westmoreland, Jamaica and would, in the near future, also like to develop programs in other Caribbean islands such as Grenada.
In 2013, P2B will be hosting the Literacy and Leadership summer camp from July 8-21 and would also be completing a community development project in a neighbouring community.
We are encouraging anyone who has a passion for literacy, teaching, youth and community development to apply for internships or volunteer positions at the Literacy and Leadership summer camp in 2013.
For more information about The Power to Be International, please visit www.thepowertobe.org/. Don’t delay, the first deadline is 15th December 2012 (that’s next week!)
Marie Benjamin is a Trinidadian-Grenadian residing in Toronto, Canada. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies from York University, where she is presently pursuing a graduate degree in Education (MEd). As a former secondary school teacher, Marie now focuses her energies on building connections in Grenada to support the advancement of community education and youth development. When she is not trying to change the world, Marie is indulging or dreaming of home-cooked food, soca, and the sea.