More than 60 mentors greeted student mentees for the first time at the launch of the Chamber of Commerce’s Mentoring Cayman programme at the Triple C School this week.
Launched by the Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ministry of Education in 2002, Mentoring Cayman pairs high-achieving year 11 students from public and private high schools selected by their principals with mentors from the government and the private sector. Since its launch, Mentoring Cayman has impacted the lives of more than 1,000 students and mentors.
Addressing attendees, President Nelson Dilbert said: “As this year unfolds, and your relationships with one another develop, you will find yourself giving valuable and life-changing advice, upon which each of these young people will be able to lay a solid foundation. A heartfelt thank you to the Ministry of Youth for your ongoing support of the programme. Thank you too to major sponsors Cox Lumber, Consolidated Water, and Rocky’s Diamonds.”
Encouraging each member of the new cohort, Hon. Bernie Bush, Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage said: “The success of the Mentoring Cayman speaks for itself, as there have been several persons who have completed the programme and have gone on to accomplish great things. Some of them have gone on to become financial managers, accountants, and even entrepreneurs.
“Each of you sitting here tonight was chosen for your talent and your ability to achieve your highest potential. This programme will empower you, enhance your skills, and enable you to not only dream big but help you to develop a road map of how to achieve success. These objectives align perfectly with my ministry, and that is precisely why we are proud to support the Mentoring Cayman programme and will continue to support it. There is a saying: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ This sentiment was important, growing up, for myself and my fellow Caymanians. Mentoring Cayman is a way of bringing back part of our culture.”
Mentees and mentors were soon busy getting to know each other at each of the tables, as they enjoyed refreshments. “I’m interested in becoming an accountant, or the finance field in general,” said 15-year-old James Coleman, as he sat with his mentor, Reagan Chisi, a professional accountant, who said, “I am telling him for him to have an open mind and I want to try to make sure that he doesn’t get limited.”
Meanwhile, Saralee Leslie, who is interested in becoming a clinical psychologist, was chatting with her new mentor Dr. Sarah Cuff, a General Practitioner. “I am ambitious working in the medical field, or any field that helps people, in the way that my mentor does,” she said. Dr. Cuff said she believed she could help: “I’d like to hope that having been born and been raised and studied abroad and then returned to Cayman I can impart some of the skills and wisdom that others imparted to me,” she said.
Shirah-Moy Campbell, a 15-year-old student at John Gray High School who has set her heart on becoming a veterinarian, was in just the right place, as she chatted with Dr. Olivia Benjamin who has volunteered as a Chamber mentor since graduating in 2016. “I’ve returned this year to mentor. I think it’s important for the young students to have someone there to guide them on such a tremendous journey,” she said.
Shirah’s father, Archibald Campbell said, “I really think this is a great initiative for these young people to get this hands-on experience by these professionals in their various fields and I think it would really have prepared them better for their future jobs.”
Mentoring Cayman is one of several of the Chamber’s programmes designed to develop and nurture and develop Cayman’s future leaders. If you’d like to find out more or become a volunteer mentor in the future, contact Swan Sandoval at 743-9124 or email her at email@example.com or visit the webpage.