Volunteering To Enable Others To Shine

Some of The Successful Candidates

Some of The Successful Candidates

A productive citizen is one not afraid of volunteering their services for the greater good of the nation.  They go all out for others and their country selflessly and sincerely. When the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council hear about individuals giving of their time and effort freely to back a productive cause, we feel obligated to highlight their efforts.  Shelly-Ann Noon is one person we felt had to be recognised due to her efforts in helping to bring about the attainment of 42 educational scholarships for 42 young St. Lucians in London England.  Here she captures her experience in her own words.

‘As I continue to receive updates and photographs from the 42 students who are actively pursuing their dreams in the UK, I marvel at the difference that three months have made in their lives.

I remember with all clarity March 31st, when we sent out our first press release. We were thrilled at sharing this amazing opportunity but also anxious about the time line within which we would have to work. BPP University in the UK had extended 50 Full Tuition Scholarships to St. Lucian nationals in the disciplines of Business and Law.  These scholarships were for their May 2015 intake. We had 6 weeks.

After 48 hours we had received over 50 emails; before the end of the week we had crossed the hundred mark.  Students were requesting additional information, some seeking support and guidance through the application process. We were truly grateful when the university offered to send a representative down to St. Lucia to expedite the sign-up process. Mr Jose Castro, the director of Admissions, flew down a week later and spent three days at the SALCC interviewing and signing up students.

We now had less than a month for those who qualified to resign from their jobs, move out of their rented apartments, and tie up all loose ends, even before they had been issued their Tier 4 student visas which came with rich criteria. This proved to be our greatest challenge yet.

A plethora of emails danced between RISE, BCCC, BPP and the St. Lucian Government. Pre-existing bonds had to be deferred, financial institutions had to be endorsed by the Ministry in order to be accepted by UKVI, employers extended reduced mandatory notice to their employees, banks worked tirelessly with the limited resources of the students and the students themselves continued to support and encourage each other. It was no easy feat.

Faith, endurance, perseverance and eventually gratitude, become the pillars of their character as their learned to brush off one rejection after another and continue pushing onward. There was an abundance of paperwork, footwork and prayer.

Now, every day I receive messages from one or two of those remarkable young people, with updates on the progress that they continue to make in their new lives; and every so often there is an image attached of their faces bright with promise. I especially love noting the incredible backdrops- amazing views of London, a true sign that they have accessed a whole new world.

It would be remiss of me to not mention and extend heart felt gratitude to those who held the torches along the dark and challenging trails: Juliette Wagner James of BBP University who created and extended this opportunity, Jose Castro and his assistant Rebecca Charlton who worked 7 day weeks and 14 hour days so that the students would meet deadlines, the Ministry of Education and Government of St. Lucia who opened closed doors, the financial institutions (especially FICS) who worked with the students and found light, however little, and made it enough to convert opportunity into reality. Hibiscus Travel and Virgin Atlantic Airlines for extending group rates for travel, Bay Gardens Hotel and the staff of SALCC who offered spaces for us to meet as often as was necessary, the staff of FEDEX and their Customs officers on duty when those returning travel documents were needed in short time. The members of the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce who remained throughout a phone call away, always willing to assist. The members of RISE (St. Lucia) Inc. who never missed a meeting, a call or group chat detail, and the staff of the British High Commission with special thanks to Mrs. Debbie Worrel here in St.Lucia and Dr. Ernest Hilaire in the UK, who made the impossible possible and today continue to offer a support system to the students. Finally, those individuals who went into their personal wallets when all resources had been exhausted before all needs could be met – Mr. Mandish Singh, Mr. Matthew Beaubrun, Mr. Boo Hinkson, Mr. George Alcindor, Mr. Leevie Herelle and Dr. Jacqui Bird.

Coming through to the other end of this initiative, it is evident to me that our young St. Lucians really do have a thrust for knowledge. It was heart breaking to see those who, through no fault of their own and certainly no lack of effort, were unable to avail themselves of what was sure to be a legacy altering opportunity.

It is my prayer that those 42 students who triumphed will continue to embrace the light, make rainbows of the UK rains and illuminate the path for those hopefully only temporarily left behind’.

to avail themselves of what was sure to be a legacy altering opportunity.

It is my prayer that those 42 students who triumphed will continue to embrace the light, make rainbows of the UK rains and illuminate the path for those hopefully only temporarily left behind’.

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What is your idea of a productive summer vacation?

Productive Summer Vacations Are The Most MemorableHave you ever asked yourself ‘what makes a good summer vacation’? Some feel that a favourable vacation consists of simply laying back and doing as little as possible.  They see a vacation as a period of time when schedules are banished and deadlines are ignored. There are others however who live life under the premise that every second of every day must be spent in a structured and orderly way. They believe that no period of time should be unregulated and thus wasted. How an individual spends their time off is a personal decision, and no one way should ever be viewed as wrong but for those who would prefer to follow a productively active plan, there are some actions that can be taken to help you do so.

Wake Up Early

Nothing eats away at your summer break like staying beneath the covers for most of the morning.  Decide the previous day when you will get out of bed, then make sure to follow through. During the first few weeks of your vacation, chances are that you will relish the opportunity to sleep in. It’s okay to do this and to give yourself a break but try not to make it a practice throughout the duration of your holiday as you may well end up spending the entire time in bed.

Maintain Good Health and Hygiene

Just because you are not obligated to leave your home every day during your vacation, it does not mean that you have to let yourself go. Take care of your health and hygiene.  You may also consider taking some summer fitness classes to get into shape or to help improve on the great shape that you already have.  If you are not too interested in joining a formal fitness club or group you should still try to get outside and have fun every day.

Study

Research a topic of interest, make some time to find out about something new. Your studying does not have to be limited to a book or the internet however. Go out to a museum, a gallery or a library to find out more about the chosen subject.  If you are a student, remember that studying remains essential throughout the school year. Look over last year’s notes or do some research into what next year’s courses have in store. When school resumes, you`ll be grateful that your academic knowledge and skills have not deteriorated.

Join a Volunteer Group

There are always groups around the community in need of some help. Give up some of your time to help out. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Go To Camp

Camps do not only pertain to children. Adult camps may be in operation under a different name or format.  Ask around, you may be surprised at how many adult community activities are in operation that offer the chance of learning something new.  You could learn to write, draw, bind books, make photo albums, knit and so much more. Try something new and different, something that you know nothing whatsoever about and you will gain a new skill and possibly find a lifelong hobby to love.

As stated, everyone has their own idea of what makes a good summer vacation and no one way is better than another but if you are not travelling abroad or planning anything elaborate for your summer break you can still make it memorable by making it productively active.

Important Productivity Lessons for Children

Productivity Lessons Can be Learnt From A Young Age

Productivity Lessons Can be Learnt From A Young Age

Defining the concept of productivity to a child can prove challenging. The children’s online dictionary ‘kids.net.au’, defines productivity as “the quality of being productive or having the power to produce.”  It is also listed as being “the ratio of the quantity and quality of units produced to the labour per unit of time.”  It is questionable however as to whether either of these definitions could be easily understood by a child. Therefore, to better assist children with a coherent understanding of the concept of productivity, parents must resort to a more practical approach through demonstration of productive practices, explaining the productive elements to be found within each approach. With continuity in the practice of teaching and employing everyday practical productivity practices, a combination of efficiency, good preparation, effective use of learning tools and materials will prove evident in the children’s need always to execute all tasks to the best of their ability.

Simple productive habits to be demonstrated to your children include,

Take Notes to Remember Something Important-

Taking notes eliminates the prospect of your child having to try to recollect information at a later date. Trying to remember important information that has not been written down can prove time consuming. In taking notes, the knowledge needed is always at hand. If your child does not like the prospect of carrying around a pencil and a notepad, get them to use their tablet or smartphone. It is the action of note taking that is important, not the instrument that they use to do so.

Put Things Back Where They Belong-

This action not only prevents the home from becoming cluttered, it actually saves your children from wasting time in the future. By placing items back where they belong, the prospect of having to look for them at a later date is eliminated. This practices teaches a very effective time saving strategy.

Do Not Put Tasks On Hold Until the Last Minute-

Using the time allocated for a certain project properly, will help improve your child’s time management skills. Effective use of the time given to complete a project will also allow your child to carry out the task at hand to the best of their ability.

Pack Your Belongings the Night Before-

By making this simple task into a habit, your child will be able to observe the effects of good preparation. Getting ready for school in the morning takes time. This task illustrates how effectively this can be done once they have packed their school bag the night before. They will also be able to see how this exercise plays a vital role as it pertains to the time they get to school in the morning and how it allows for them to be properly organised in advance.

 

The Better You Communicate, the Better You Will Be Understood-

Children should be taught from a young age that communication is key. The better they are at communicating, the more likely they will be understood by those they are communicating with. Better communication helps to prevent false assumptions. Good communication allows for messages to be received and responded to efficiently. It dispels confusion, eliminating the possibility of time being wasted on a wrong action.

Not all children are keen on learning new lessons, especially when it means that they have to change the way in which things are done. However once a lesson becomes a habit, and the worth of each habit is realized your child will be appreciative of the productivity lessons instilled in them at a young age. It is only right to place children on the correct path which will lead to them becoming productive adults. In this way, they will be better prepared for their lives ahead.