Mentorship program to help nurture young lives

LaCelia Prince, the St.Vincent and the Grenadines U.S. ambassador, has reiterated a call she made a year ago for a “sister-to-sister” mentoring network for Vincentian women at home and abroad.

“In being our sister’s keeper, we will certainly be helping the GHS to maintain her standard, not just for academic excellence but also as a beacon for producing young ladies with impeccable discipline and self-respect.”

Prince was delivering the keynote address at an awards ceremony and banquet on Apr. 10, organized by the Brooklyn, New York-based Girls High School Alumnae Association, to mark the centennial anniversary of the prestigious public school.

The ambassador recommended a Internet-based network where professional guidance and counseling can provided for alums and their offspring.

She first issued the proposal to GHS Headmistress Andrea Bowman last year after delivering the keynote address at the school’s graduation ceremony.

“A large population of the alumnae is located overseas, many of whom more likely to be in a position to offer career guidance in areas which are not traditional career fields in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and, indeed, the Caribbean.

“The role of an alumnus, such as myself, and of associations, such as yours, can be to help the continue being a formidable force, even in the 21st century,” said Prince.

“And in order to do so, we should never let our vision or scope be limited to the horizons of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but, indeed, to encompass the world beyond,” added the alumnus of the Class of 1993.

“Apart from the career guidance that mentorship can offer, I am convinced that positive influences and guidance from illustrious alumnae, such as yourselves, can provide a counter to the growing erosion of discipline amongst the students,” she continued.

Prince – who dedicated her remarks in memory of her GHS classmate, Karen Natalie Ollivierre, who died on March 3 from “a grave illness” – lamented the weakening of moral values among teenagers generally in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as “pervasive,” stating that the Girls’ High School has not been immune to this “threat.”

“It is no secret that there has been an alarming rate of pregnancies amongst the student body within the last decade or so,” she said, pointing out that tackling this problem requires a “multi-dimensional approach.”

“But I believe that the alumnae can be an invaluable resource in providing lifestyle mentorship to GHS students,” she affirmed, asserting that “even if only one girl is saved through mentorship from premature pregnancy, that will be one major life-altering disaster averted.”

She, however, noted that the GHS cannot do it alone.

“Regrettably, many of the students are not fortunate enough to have the best influences in the home. Not all are exposed to nurturing in the church. And the lifestyle paths that many of them ultimately choose – in large measure – come from the influences of peers, whomsoever they may be,” the Vincentian diplomat said.

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