Family Centre Holds Youth Leadership Training

May 16, 2024 | 0 Comments

In April, sixteen Dellwood Middle School students and eighteen adults participated in a transformative experience during Family Centre’s Youth Leadership Intensive [YLI] training week.

A spokesperson said, “This annual YLI event supports youth to speak up about experiences that have impacted them and facilitates relationship building between youth and adults who work directly with youth or who can advocate on their behalf. The week culminated in dynamic roundtable discussions with esteemed Community Leaders.

“Family Centre’s Youth Leadership Academy [YLA] programme was established in 2011. YLI is the first phase of the programme. This one-week ‘Intensive’ aims to build youth confidence in using their voices to increase the effectiveness of adults who work with or on behalf of youth. The training enables young people to meet with adults on an equal footing to discuss issues of concern and offer their ideas for solving community issues.

“This year, youth seized the opportunity to present their ideas for enhancing their school experience, addressing challenges to the natural environment, promoting community safety, and creating platforms for youth-led conversations on issues of concern.”

Leila Wadson, Director of Community Services at Family Centre, reflected, “The impactful outcomes of YLI were due to the collaboration between the Dellwood Middle School staff and the active participation of Youth Advocates and engaged Community Leaders.”

Family Centre Youth Leadership Intensive Bermuda May 2024

The spokesperson said, “Over the course of two days, the fourteen Youth Advocates exemplified remarkable passion, skill, and empathy as they amplified the voices of young people. In addition, Community Leaders, including Secretary to the Cabinet, Marc Telemaque; Commissioner of Education, Kalmar Richards; Inspector Karema Flood of the Bermuda Police Service; Executive Director of Family Centre, Dr. Sandy De Silva; and Policy Analyst for the Ministry of Home Affairs, David Northcott, also contributed invaluable insights and support.

“At the core of the Youth Leadership Intensive is the recognition of the power of telling your story, empathetic listening, and youth-driven advocacy. This training intensive was created after Family Centre’s Community staff workers continued to hear young people express that they feel ‘life is just happening to them’ and many adults ‘do not see or hear them’, or their experiences don’t really matter enough for things to change.”

Leila Wadson explained, “Family Centre’s Youth Leadership Academy is a 5-year programme commencing at Dellwood in M3 and extending through high school, that identifies and nurtures youth leadership potential. Through exposure to opportunities, young people learn that leadership is action, not position, and through the mentorship and guidance of Family Centre Community Support Workers, youth are equipped to realize their short and long-term goals.”

Deneca Zuill, YLA programme Coordinator explains, “YLA offers a transformative journey for youth selected by Dellwood Middle School Staff. Through leadership opportunities and dedicated mentorship, young people are empowered to shape their future and drive positive change in their community. At the same time, YLA youth and families receive support with various challenges that arise.”

The spokesperson said, “The Youth Leadership Intensive concludes with a collaborative sharing circle, where the middle school aged participants are supported by adult Youth Advocates to share their ideas for change with public officials. This safe space fosters dialogue, empathy, and tangible actions driven by the voices of Bermuda’s youth.

“To learn more about Family Centre’s YLA programme and future initiatives, please visit”

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