TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

EPOCH Foundation highlights personal development challenges of at-risk youth

TSTT Corporate Communications

Press Release

Contact:
Janelle David
Manager, Media and Stakeholder Relations
E:jdavid@tstt.co.tt | M: (868) 745-6420 | T: (868) 625-3333


EPOCH Foundation highlights personal development challenges of at-risk youth
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – April 12, 2021

________________________________________

The EPOCH Foundation was established in 2018 to help build capacity and resilience in youth who live in at-risk communities across Trinidad and Tobago. Led by Anna Thompson, a career human resources professional, the organisation has focused on younger people's personal development to help them lead more balanced and secure lives.

On Thursday, 15th April 2021, the Foundation will host a webinar, live-streamed by Nish Music House and in partnership with bmobile, to bring attention to the challenges that at-risk youth face and raise greater awareness, particularly in light of the economic and other covid-19 related challenges. This webinar is also a prelude to their annual program to be held later this year, which focuses on a range of topics, including self-esteem, communication, conflict management, professional branding, resume writing, interview practice, leadership, and entrepreneurship, among other areas. The programme focuses on the needs of students at the Forms Four and Five levels before they leave school with a view to optimise their outcomes after graduation. The program includes facilitators who are experts in their respective fields and recently added a mentorship component to continue longer-term development. Facilitators are free to develop their own modules, and the program continuously assesses feedback from student attendees for ongoing improvement.




Gerard Cooper, General Manager Shared Services at TSTT noted the importance of programs like this, "We understand that the traditional educational system may not be able to cover all the areas
that are critical for a young person's development and success in the working world thereafter. We believe that by supporting an organisation undertaking critical work like this, we can help empower and motivate our young people to strive to be the best version of themselves. EPOCH's approach through vetted facilitators who present down-to-earth and hands-on modules is a model that is well-received and will result in positive benefits for the attendees as well as their employers in time too.” Cooper also pointed out that the bmobile Foundation recognises education as one of its four primary CSR pillars. “This includes all aspects of education and is not limited to school-based curriculums. Seeing the youth of our nation thrive is part of our own Foundation’s mandate as well,” he included.

Thompson highlighted, "Aside from the educational learning aspects that take place in our schools, what we had observed over the years is that students are ill-prepared for job interviews. They do not have the fine-tuning or some of the niceties that are needed which can then result in them seeing the door shut on them. This meant that students who graduated from schools with more well-rounded development backgrounds would go on to get better jobs while those who did not come from those backgrounds would lose that opportunity - and the cycle continues. This is a cycle we therefore want to end.” Thompson has also spent several years in youth personal development with Paragon Hockey Club and drew on her experience there in developing the annual program. “Then there is also the issue of self-esteem and self-confidence that is not covered in any way in the education of our young people. Sometimes the situation at home unfortunately does not nurture self-confidence and empowerment. You have totally different interactions between different parents and children in different parts of the country and this program aims to level that playing field,” she added.

Panel members for this month's webinar include Ingrid Jahra, co-founder and CEO of CinemaONE and current Chairperson of the Board of Film Censors of T&T, Lisa Ghany, Director Xceptional Events, Corporal Jacey Small of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, Keisha Garcia, Senior Social Worker, Alloy Bedeau, Teacher, as well as several students who will present their personal experiences with the program and the challenges they face in their own communities as well. Nichola Harvey-Mitchell, Director of the Children’s Authority will moderate.


Interested participants can sign up on the organisation's Facebook page, EPOCH Foundation or visit http://epochfoundationtt.org for more info.


###