The Department of Youth Services held its 2015 Belize Youth Awards on Friday December 4, 2015 at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. The event which marked the culmination of National Youth Week, celebrated under the theme “Youth, Let’s Make the Dream Work with Team Work”, is held annually to recognize and reward young people from all over Belize for their contribution to Belize’s development.
The special guest speaker for the occasion was Mr. Mike Duggan, Executive Director of Domus Kids, a U.S. based NGO which provides a home and after-school programs for with at-risk boys. Mr. Duggan is also involved in the “No Youth Left Behind Initiative” which provides guidance and mentorship for young people. In addressing the awardees and guests at Friday’s event, Mr. Duggan said, “See young people as resources and not as recipients of services that you give. Actively get their input, have the trust and confidence in them that they know what they are talking about, that they know what they need, and they know what their communities need and they have the solutions.”
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports, Hon. Elodio Aragon Jr. also delivered an address at the ceremony. Minister Aragon said, “It is both timely and relevant for us to acknowledge the positive and selfless contributions being made by the youth to our society. Our young people continue to play pivotal roles in Belize’s development. This is the time to celebrate their achievements as we commit ourselves to meeting their personal developmental needs”.
The awards consisted of sixteen categories. They are as follows with their respective winner/s:
*Environmental Award (Individual) - Adaly Cartagena of Ocean Academy
*Environmental Award (Group) - CJC Eagles Environmental Club
*Enterprise Award (Group) - Belmopan Active Youth
*Innovation Award - Crystal Samos
Special mentions: Chantae Guy and Leeworth Robateau
*The Media Award - David Smith
Special mention: Sylvian Neal
*Enterprise Award (Indiviual) - Kenrick Ashton Gonzales
Special mentions: Iniki Zuniga and Catryce Faye Cattouse
*The Arts and Culture Award - Raheem Mariano
*The Differently Abled Award: Janae Angelee Matute
Special mentions: Mamari Tesucun and Patrick Bustamante
*Youth in Agriculture Award - Kadeem Bennett
*The Pacesetter Award - Rafael Roberts Castellanos
Special mentions: Celine Lopez and Verlie Lamb
*Youth in Sports (Male) Award - Mark Anderson
Special mentions: Alexander Alvarado and James Bregal
*Youth in Sports (Female) Award - Kori Diego
Special mention: Jayda Brown and Ana Patricia Gonzalez
*Academic Excellence Award - Aidian Flowers
Special mentions: Gem Turner and Tanigi Palacio
*CARICOM Youth Ambassador Awards - Jeanelle Mencias for Outstanding Leadership, Bryton Codd for Outstanding Youth, William Mahler for Outstanding Achiever and Shaquille Young for Outstanding Artist
*The Youth Club Award - Belmopan Active Youth
Special mentions: Energy for Life Youth Group and The CAYA Girls Club
*The Youth Minister’s Award - the most prestigious award of the night - went to Andrew Jeffrey Munnings.
Congratulations to all awardees!