Passion for giving
The “P” in their passion is for more than just partying. Although Crop-Over fêtes were where they made their debut onto the local scene in the early 2000s and where they developed a name for themselves as young promoters, the members of Passion Network Inc., who are all between the ages of 25 and 38, have been steadily proving their passion for philanthropy. They started out as a group of six friends going out on the weekends during Crop-Over; then developed into an organised body of 30 plus members who would party-hop and were easily recognised by their specially printed T-shirts, complete with a heart on fire logo and slogan Everything You Do In Life Do It With Passion.But from the beginning they had an agenda that exceeded the fêtes and festivities of Crop-Over, and from their first year of hosting events in 2007 they established a community outreach committee that focused on offering assistance to projects dedicated to youth and children, health awareness and environmental consciousness. “We always knew we were going to get involved in community work. We always said that as young responsible individuals we had a social obligation to the community. “We did not only want to be seen as a party group that goes out and enjoy themselves and that’s it. We were always looking at ways we could help out people who needed it,” one of the directors, Neil Broome, explained.Another director Manuel McClean, the group’s financial comptroller, added that their commitment to community service was such an integral part of the group’s portfolio, it needed specific preparation.“Although there is the Crop-Over period we obviously have to plan for, the community outreach programmes also have to be planned. So we sit as a committee and plan events for the year, making sure that every quarter there will be an event that is geared towards the group’s interpersonal relationships,” he said.They have been involved in beach clean-ups, where they assisted the Caribbean Youth Environment Network with its coastal clean-up campaign; the Hope Foundation’s Annual Walk For Lupus and they subsequently went on to manage the children’s area of the foundation’s Garden Party at the Prime Minister’s official residence Ilaro Court; The Barbados Cancer Society; The Kiwanis Club Silver Dollar Drive; Movie Mornings at Olympus Theatres in conjunction with the Variety Club; and last year they introduced the first Passion Network Charity Bus Ride with children from Farrs Children Home and students of the Alma Parris School, which is fast becoming their signature event.While benevolence is the main objective behind their motivation, they also set about deliberately to help raise the positive profile of young people, another of Passion’s directors and executive secretary Charmaine Henry said.“We also want to show other young people that being an organised group is not only about partying and getting what you can from others. You have a responsibility to give back to society,” she said.For the young organisers, handing over a monetary donation is only one aspect of this social responsibility. Actively participating in social programmes is what makes the real difference. Henry, a teacher at the Alma Parris School, elaborated on the importance of the now annual children’s bus ride, which this year included students from the Learning Centre, the Children’s Development Centre and the wider community.“The children at the schools [for example] are lacking social interaction. There are children who don’t have the exposure to normal children activities such as bus excursions or visits to places like Farley Hill, Gun Hill or Bathsheba. What’s more, they get to interact with other children they don’t know,” she said. The concept of team work and conflict resolution through playing games are some of the important skills Broome thinks the children truly benefit from as well.“There were also children there from regular homes that befriended and socialised with the children with [developmental challenges]. For us those relationships are far more valuable than any cash donation we could have made,” he added. This year the invitation to the bus ride was opened to the children of their members on facebook.com and 30 joined the team. In total they treated 80 children to a fun day all paid for through monies they made from their Crop-Over 2009 events.