Jamaican Jénine Shepherd, board chair and president of the NGO, Youths for Excellence Limited that currently serves seven Caribbean countries and the USA, will be honored as the Best Youth Leader of the Year in “Education, Art & Culture” at the 2nd Annual Anthem Award ceremony, in NYC on Monday, Feb. 27.
In a release to Caribbean Life, the 24-year-old powerhouse said she joins other honorees including Lil Nas X, Planned Parenthood, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, March for Our Lives, Etsy, Oprah Winfrey Network.
Fans will be able to hear from social impact leaders and their hallmark speeches at www.anthemawards.com.
“I am humbled at this award and what it means for our work. The Anthem Awards has once again put us in the global spotlight. It is my hope that this attention will attract even more supporters for our work and provide us with the platform to advocate for the needs of the Caribbean which oftentimes, is overlooked,” said Shepherd.
She noted that NGOs in the Caribbean have a lot to offer, but are stifled by the lack of funding, and the high levels of bureaucracy that make it difficult to maintain legal status and the poorly developed infrastructure that makes survival difficult.
“I continue to call for a centralized grant system, similar, to grants.gov and sam.gov in the USA for the Caribbean that pools public and private sector funding to give NGOS in the region a fighting chance,” she said.
The Anthem Awards was launched in response to the prevalence social good taken within the national conversation and cultural zeitgeist in recent years. The 2nd Annual competition received nearly 2,000 entries from 43 countries worldwide.
“By amplifying the voices that spark global change, the Anthem Awards are defining a new benchmark for impactful work that inspires others to act in their communities. A portion of program revenue will fund a new grant program supporting emerging individuals and organizations working to advance the causes recognized in the 2nd Annual Anthem Awards.”
This honor comes on the heels of Shepherd receiving the Diana Award in 2021 from Princess Diana’s Estate which is the most prestigious award in the world that a young person can receive for social action and humanitarian work as well as the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in the category of Nation Building in 2018.
The overachiever, in 2021, was also listed among the Caribbean 30 Under 30 Changemakers. In 2022, she was recognized by the UK Based NGO, Roy Anthony Reid Foundation, for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Citizenship.
Shepherd has been able to balance running her NGO with her academics. She recently graduated from Amherst College, the top liberal arts college in the USA with her Bachelors in Neuroscience and Economics after being awarded a full scholarship of USD 87,000 each year.