A most unique competition has been brewing over the last few months. Who has ever heard of a corporate volunteering competition? Well, Repsol, Powergen, Flow, Holiday Foods and Angostura employees are all part of the greatest competition this country has probably ever seen…a race to grow leaders out of youths.
Partnering with the Growing Leaders Foundation (GLF), these companies are allowing their employees to go out one hour a month during work hours to teach leadership to primary school youths. This is being done in their classrooms during regular school hours, as part of their corporate social responsibility programme.
Sally Della Casa, lead tree shaker who heads GLF, said Repsol, with some 15 active volunteers/employees mobilised and challenged Flow. Flow, under the watchful eyes of Cindy Gatt and Monique Mata, with more than 50 volunteers in the programme from four different Flow locations, grew the most leaders for the month of September 2012, beating their Repsol rivals.
From their standpoint GLF said, “Certain soft-skill development cannot be taught by teachers if all they have done was teach their entire careers. “They simply do not have the practical workplace experience, including leadership and other practical soft skill career development in a school curriculum.”
Expecting a teacher to teach it from a book having never experienced it in a real corporate workplace environment is a waste of time and resources, according to GLF. “Who better to teach it than those who are living it daily?” the GLF asked.
GLF said there is a real logic behind what they do “and lots of studies to back up our methodology.”
Powergen employee Gail Rajkumar, despite all the hurdles schools and pupils faced on the first week back after the long vacation, was able to go out and grow leaders at Belmont Girls’ RC. “As of the beginning of the school year, with over 200 and counting trained and mobilised volunteers, we have impacted over 50 schools and just under 3,500 youths so far,” GLF stated.
“Our goal this school year is 10,000 youths. Each volunteer represents, on average, 30 leaders we can grow. We all recognise that we have a leadership crisis in this country, past and present. “The only way we are going to resolve it in the future is to grow like-minded leaders who understand that true leadership is not about looking back to the past to justify lack of performance, race, politics, titles, dead weight disguised as loyalty, family relations, favour and payback.”
GLF is hoping that with the numbers they are impacting they will be ensuring an unstoppable momentum involving a generation of 8 to 12 year-olds, leaders of tomorrow, “who will have a chance to shine and show us all what true leadership looks like.”
GLF stated its mission goes straight to the heart of every enlightened citizen of Trinidad and Tobago. “Do you want your child to flourish and shine as a great leader he or she is intended to be? Or do you want them to be part of the corrupt systems we have today that lacks leadership and stifles the gifts, talents, leadership ability and creativity of the population?”
The GLF believes that “we as a people are great at complaining but we simply do not have the courage to stand up and change things.” The only way to resolve this, according to the GLF, “is to build block by block the generation that will have the courage to stand up and be the change we all want to see.”
Schools currently benefitting from the free (one-hour each) 12-session leadership programme:
•Belmont Boys’ RC
•Belmont Girls’ RC
•Curepe Fatima RC
•Diamond Vale Government Primary
•Dow Village Government
•Eastern Boys Government
•El Socorro Central Government
•Exchange RC Std 5
•Mt Dor Government
•Nelson Girls’ RC
•Newtown Girls’ RC
•Pleasantville Government Std 5
•Princes Town Presbyterian
•Raghunanan Road Std 4
•Raghunanan Road Std 5
•Richmond St Boys’
•Rosary Boys RC
•San Fernando TML
•San Juan Presbyterian
•Signal Hill Government
•St Andrew’s Private
•St David’s RC
•St Hilda’s Government
•St Mary’s AC
•St Peter’s Private
•St Pius Boys’
•St Roses Girls’