During summer break, our 2023 cohort of Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) Foundations students were tasked with developing three community impact projects that are meaningful to them. Through the process of completing these projects, the youth experience the power of their voices, understand that their opinions matter, and know that they have the power to make positive changes in their communities.

Each year, the YLA youth community impact projects are a testament that if we give youth a platform, they will let us know about the issues that impact their everyday lives and provide the solutions.

Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is a 5-year3-phase programme that aims to help and support young people to reach their full potential. Phase 2: Youth Leadership Academy  (YLA) Foundations is a 5 month after-school programme that exposes youth to new and fun experiences, and empowers them to make positive decisions and to realize their full leadership potential through participation in community projects and activities.

“Heart of the City: Court Street, Her Story, and The Story of Her People”- A YLA Foundations Community Impact Project by Yeasmin Cummings, Kassidy Rogers-Gibbons, Azi Goater and Jahmorrie McFarlane
“Street Harassment in Bermuda – A Culture of Catcalling” – A YLA Foundations Community Impact Project by Lyrah Russell, Khayla Pearman and Nyree Trott
“Pump Up the Parks” – A YLA Foundations Community Impact Project by Ahynah Ming, Damien Azzario-McKenzie, Kezion Smith and Zaeviun Lauder

Three young ladies from Family Centre’s Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) programme had the honour of attending the Throne Speech as the group leaders behind three transformative community projects. From left to right: Yeasmin Cummings, Khayla Pearman, Family Centre Community Team Leader Deneca Zuill, and Ahnyah Ming.

Their journey from impactful community projects to the grand stage of Government recognition is a true testament to the power of youth-led initiatives. The students were invited by Mr. Marc Telemaque, Secretary to the Cabinet Office, after their projects caught the attention of the Cabinet and Government Ministers.

This year’s YLA Foundations Community Impact projects were:

🌳 “Pump Up the Park” – Their vision: To revamp Parsons Road Park into a space that nurtures the social, physical, and emotional growth of teens and young adolescents.
🚶‍♀️ “Street Harassment in Bermuda – A Culture of Catcalling” – An eye-opening account of personal encounters with demeaning and disrespectful behaviour towards young people in our streets.
📽️ “Heart of the City” – A captivating proposal to create a film showcasing the rich history, vibrant personalities, and thriving businesses of Court Street.

During this extraordinary day at Friday’s Throne Speech, the motto was, “I’m a big deal!” – inspired by a dancehall song – and rightly so, as these young leaders felt heard, valued, and seen by the broader community.

As stated by Her Excellency the Governor Ms. Rena Lalgie, “The young people of Bermuda inspire confidence in the future and bring a unique energy to life in our community. The Government believes that young people invested in Bermuda’s future must be supported as their example will grow the community connectedness that meets the challenge of anti-social behaviour and a history that does not resonate beyond the generation that lived it.”

We extend our heartfelt thanks to The Government of Bermuda for listening to the voices of our young people, and we’re excited to see how their projects continue to create broader community impact. Stay tuned!

To read the Throne Speech in full, visit www.gov.bm/throne-speech