The Chamber’s Mentoring Cayman programme celebrated another successful year during its closing reception on 15 July at the Grand Pavilion courtyard. Mentors, high school students, and their parents gathered to share stories and to acknowledge the impact that mentoring has had on the lives of more than 60 students and community leaders that participated in the programme in 2023. Mentoring Cayman was established by the Chamber in 2002 and is the first programme of its kind for high school students who have been selected by the public and private school principals to participate in the programme.
“Students, I hope you benefitted from the knowledge, experience, and advice of your mentors. Mentors, thank you for volunteering your time to assist our future leaders,” said President Nelson Dilbert, “It is my hope that some of the students with us this evening will in the future give back to the programme by serving as mentors yourselves.”
He thanked the Ministry of Youth, Sports Culture and Heritage for its ongoing support and sponsorship, along with Cox Lumber, Rocky’s Diamond Gallery, Aquilae Consulting, and Butterfield: “Your financial support provides the funding that we need to ensure the programme continues to improve from year to year,” he said. “Life is a journey, and it is a blessing to have someone who is interested in your future wellbeing – someone ‘in your corner’ – who will be there to guide and support you.”
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Youth Sports Culture and Heritage, Tunisia Barnes thanked the Chamber for its unwavering support of Mentoring Cayman: “This programme has been invaluable in providing opportunities for our youth to grow and thrive,” she said. “We are particularly proud to support mentoring Cayman as it aligns with our ministry’s goal, and this enhances the youth and empowerment our core of our mission. This programme has been a shining example of how mentorship can play a vital role in achieving these objectives.”
Mentor Mary Reynolds, store manager of Cost U Less, was paired with Mikayla O’Connor, who is interested in architectural design. “I said, ‘Ok, I’m not really understanding how that goes together,’” she told attendees, “But the funny thing was, as we actually got talking, we quickly realized that Mikayla and I had very similar interests.”
Mentor Diandra Shand-Ogbe, who had been paired with mentee Ashley Banks. Ashley said, “I am very grateful for all the experiences at Grace Kennedy Money Services where I learned about what it takes to work in the financial services industry.
“Also, I have improved my communication skills and found out what it means to work as part of a team. And I was also provided with the opportunity this summer to do an internship which I am so grateful for, and I am sure that I will be using everything I have learned through this programme as I prepare for the world of work.”
Diandra said, “It has been a remarkable journey for Ashley and me. And let me tell you something I will do it all over again. This journey for me was very powerful. Ashley also taught me a lot. She was very calm, and her demeanor is so welcoming. In our office it can get a bit overbearing so to see how she handles things really taught me a lot as well.
The 2024 Mentoring Cayman programme is now recruiting mentors. If you’d like to volunteer to participate in this six month experience, contact Swan Sandoval at 743-9124 or email her at email@example.com