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23-year-old Michael Richmond, is an award-winning youth advocate hailing from Albouystown, who has a passion for youth empowerment and advocacy.
He is a journalist/producer attached to Big Smith News Watch.
Michael noted that his passion for youth advocacy was stirred up in early 2022.
That passion saw him conducting a project called ‘Powerpoint’ in partnership with local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Youths Arise Guyana.
PowerPoint’s aim was to provide teenagers and adolescents with the necessary skills needed to navigate adulthood and the world of work. Their initiative touched on issues such as; financial literacy, leadership skills and social issues.
The workshops were pioneered by Michael and his colleague Dwright Warde.
In 2022, Michael was one of 30 Caribbean changemakers to receive the 30 Under 30 Caribbean American Emerging Leader Award by Ignite Caribbean and the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS).
Michael consulted the Ministry of Education (MOE) and sought permission to conduct his Powerpoint outreach at various schools.
Further he was allotted 10 schools; La Bonne Intention (LBI), Hope, Buxton, Lodge, Carmel, Brickdam secondary schools amongst others to begin his PowerPoint sessions.
His program started with Brickdam Secondary and stopped with Lodge.
At Brickdam, the students loved the presentation. Many students even reached out after, to commend Michael and team about the presentation they did.
For Michael’s first presentation at Lodge, 5 students turned up.
He said, “I inquired about the other students and was told only those present are interested.”
“I became burdened. However, after they found a gun in a student’s bag.. I said to myself, “I have to do something about this …,” Michael noted.
Michael then approached the headmistress of Lodge Secondary, to have a football program, which he believed would help to curb the issue of violence. The Headmistress approved of the program and Michael began working on his football program.
His football program was birthed in December, 2022 and he believed that it would assist in boosting their academic grades.
However his rule was, for students to join, they had to perform academically. That gave the students a boost, as the teachers saw changes in the students’ grades.
Michael received support from various companies, such as Ansa Mcal (via the Lucozade brand), Schlumberger amongst others.
The youth activist also organised a tour for the students of Lodge to visit Linden.
“He said, it was an all expense tour paid for. Lucozade supplied the beverages and the kids got the opportunity to tour the mining town of Linden and had jet ski rides.”
Schlumberger (a global oil & gas company) via their Trinidad Branch offered to give the fifth form students of Lodge Secondary, work study/internship stints and scholarships based on their academic performance after they complete high school. He noted that they were impressed with the work done.
In the future, the students will also be able to visit the Schlumberger Guyana branch and interact with various personnel there.