US Ambassador D Brent Hardt advised Volunteer Youth Corps (VYC) CEO Goldie Scott to build on the professional linkages she made while participating in the embassy-sponsored International Visitor Leadership (IVL) exchange programme in the United States to strengthen her organisation.
During the meeting, Scott shared her IVL programme experience with the ambassador and discussed how she intends to apply the insights gleaned from the experience to the benefit of VYC, a press release from the US Embassy in Georgetown said.
Scott participated in the prestigious IVL programme on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) – Engaging Underserved and At-Risk Youth from September 7 to 28.
Under the CBSI, the United States, Caricom member states and the Dominican Republic are collaborating to help lessen the number of young people imprisoned in the juvenile justice system. The CBSI is also working with youth already being held in juvenile facilities by supporting their transition back into communities towards the establishment of a productive life.
Hardt encouraged Scott to build on the many professional linkages she established with US institutions and other IVL participants from countries within the Caribbean to enhance VYC’s programme. According to Hardt, the IVL programme offers one of the best means to build capacity and to strengthen institutions, as it fosters an exchange of new ideas with leading US experts and organisations while establishing lasting professional connections among IVL participants. He also commended Scott for the work VYC has done in developing and strengthening the capacity of Guyanese youth to help them to make positive choices and lead productive lives.
The IVL programme which also included participants from The Bahamas, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago examined primary prevention programmes for at-risk youth, including programmes for family support, after school activities, truancy, drop-out prevention and job training.
Participants were given a firsthand look at support services for gang-involved youth and their families aimed at helping vulnerable youth make positive choices. As the CEO of a local NGO, Scott was able to gain perspectives on methodologies used by community-based organisations and faith-based groups to intervene early before problem behaviours turn into delinquency and gang involvement. She is presently coordinating a sub-agreement between VYC and Education Development Centre under the USAID/skills and Knowledge for youth Empowerment (SKYE) project to deliver ‘Work Ready Now’ training to at-risk youth in Region Four.
The International Visitor Leadership programme is the flagship professional exchange programme of the Department of State, which annually brings to the United States about 5,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience the US firsthand.
The visitors are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields. Among the thousands of distinguished individuals who have participated in the IVL programme since its inception almost seven decades ago, more than 290 current and former chiefs of state and heads of government, 2,000 cabinet-level ministers and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.