Champion of the youth
DENZIL RUDOLPH SANDIFORD describes himself as someone who cannot keep quiet. As long as there is something positive being done he wants to be a part of it.
Sandiford and 25 other people from the St Michael West Central constituency were honoured recently for their contribution to the development of their community when the constituency representative in collaboration with the constituency council held a prize-giving and appreciation ceremony.
Sandiford said he got the inspiration to get involved and help, especially with children, from being raised around people who were community minded.
He is very grateful to have received the award. “It is a fantastic gesture in recognizing people who have contributed,” he said.
“For me though, although it feels good, I am not finished. As long as there is life in me I will continue to help. I still know there is a lot more work to be done, so for me, I am not regarding it as an award, but as an incentive to do more. It is not the end, but the beginning.”
From acting to singing and performing to sport, the arts and volunteering with the constituency office’s remedial reading programme; Sandiford is there.
The foremost thing that he is doing right now is working with Sing Out Barbados. The folk group, he said, is not only associated with performing but there is much more behind the organization which has become a part of the Barbadian landscape.
Sandiford is the special events coordinator for the group and has direct responsibility for the Sterling Children’s Home. “It is our baby, our special project. We plan things for the children and we fill whatever needs they may have,” he said.
Sandiford taught at Ellerslie Secondary School for 37 years until he retired in 2008 as a senior teacher and fourth year head. While there, he also received awards for his outstanding contribution to sport and cultural activities.
He said that from the time he retired, he has worked with the St Michael parish ambassadors and has touched almost every position in the St Michael Parish Independence Committee, including chairman.
He said that his work with the committee has led him to traverse the entire parish – therefore his community work could not be limited to Scott’s Terrace, Grazettes, where he resides.
“I go through the various communities giving out information on various topics that are important to the community, working with the council I get to share about preserving the environment and energy conservation and encouraging the use of solar energy,” Sandiford said.
He has used his skills as a physical education teacher to work with the children in his community, most of whom attend St Stephen’s Primary School. He has worked with the athletics team at the school on previous occasions and was instrumental in helping the school win its first primary schools’ boys athletics championships.
But that’s not all.
Sandiford also has an affinity for the stage. He has emceed cultural shows, calypso tents and is usually invited to schools either to give dramatic presentations on the “old time days,” to talk about “town characters of the past” or read stories.
He also enjoyed a stint in the cast of local dramatic productions, having performed and travelled with Bajan Bus Stop and played a character in Laff It Off.
Sandiford said he especially likes Independence time where he goes to various schools sharing information about Barbados’ history as well as playing “old time” musical instruments including the constantina, mouth organ and guitar.
“I just love children and seeing them do well,” he said. “While I was at Ellerslie, yes I was paid to teach but I enjoyed dealing with the children on a one on one basis, especially the delinquent boys, the troubled boys that other people thought were not worth it, I used to take into my care,” Sandiford explained.
He recalled that on a visit to the local court, he met a police officer who “I took under my care while at Ellerslie and he said he was very grateful that I did that”.
“I felt very proud of what he had become and knowing that I had a hand in it made me feel so much better,” he said.