‘Block’ not all to life
Gabrielle Carrington has had a few doors shut in her face, literally.
But it has not stopped her from trying to turn young people away from negative behaviour.
Despite the opposition she receives on occasion, she is determined to show her peers that there is more to life than block culture and music videos.
The 19-year-old, who is secretary of Emerging Global Leaders of Barbados (EGLB), said her involvement in that organization had opened her eyes to the issues facing Barbadians.
She admits that she joined the group three years ago at the insistence of her friends.
“They told me that by getting involved with Emerging Global Leaders of Barbados I would learn a lot, I would get to work with different business establishments, and they told me . . . how we help the community,” Carrington said.
This desire to help the community led the former St James Secondary School student to join the poverty and human development sub-group of EGLB.
It was during a related community project that she realized how decisions made early on in life can affect one’s future.
“We started by doing volunteer work at the Salvation Army feeding the homeless. At first it was scary because I saw some people coming in talking to themselves and I was like, ‘Ok . . . should I run?’ But eventually when you sit down and talk to them and you hear the life story, some of them were very sad; some of them just went with the wrong company,” she explained.
Carrington said she was concerned about the number of young people getting involved in the “wrong things”.
“They’re not looking to do something positive. They’re just looking to follow the crowd, looking at new music videos and just idolizing these artistes,” she lamented.
The teen therefore makes a point of encouraging her peers to improve their skill set and get involved in beneficial activities, whether in or outside of school.
“From talking to some of the children in my neighbourhood they say that doing these kinds of things get boring. It is not fun. Some say they like to hang out with the boys on the block because they learn more.
“I told them if (they) get involved in activities like [EGLB] it would open their eyes and they would get to talk to different people and learn different things,” she said.
Carrington urged those who are not already involved in community or school activities to seek the advice of their teachers, guidance counsellors or those who are already living positive lives.
“[They should] think of what they want to do with their lives, where they see themselves career-wise, and talk to some of the people who could point them in the right direction,” she advised.
In the future, the enthusiastic volunteer wants to assist both the youth and another vulnerable group – the elderly.
“What I would like to do with the help of Emerging Global Leaders is to go into secondary schools and start a big brother/big sister programme from first to sixth form,” she said.
She also intends to study care of the elderly at the Barbados Vocational Training Board.
Carrington has a message for Barbadians about the nation’s youth.
“All of us are different and there are youth out there who are actually trying to help other young people to be positive,” she said.