BELMOPAN, Belize, Thursday November 17, 2016 – The director of a programme that helps under-privileged Belizean youth has been named Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year for the Caribbean.
Manuela Lue, of the Energy for Life programme, received the accolade at the 2016 Commonwealth Youth Worker Awards last week, which coincided with Youth Work Week 2016. She was one of five outstanding youth workers celebrated for using sport and the creative arts to inspire and support young people.
Energy for Life mentors and tutors under-privileged Belizean youth in handicraft production, connecting them with their culture and enabling them to earn a living.
“Youth workers do an extremely important job, which is moulding the minds and shaping the hearts of all these young people. It is very important as there’s a lot of work that goes into making these young people productive and responsible citizens,” Lue said.
“I hope to go back with more ideas about how to grow the programme and how to make it bigger and better.”
Robin Lockhart, the founder of a London-based social enterprise which supports at-risk teenagers and young adults through music and sport, Catalyst In Communities, was named the overall Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who presented the awards at a ceremony at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters, saluted the “hugely impressive recipients”.
“They represent thousands of youth workers across the Commonwealth whose work to empower and engage our young people too often goes unsung and unrecognized,” she said.