In this section:

Resources

Image credit: Jackie Meredith (cropped from original)

Javon Liburd: Being the change

Javon Liburd: Being the change

The race is not for the swift, but for those who can endure

Image above: Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other

As clichéd as the saying may sound, you have to be the change you want to see in the world. And without a doubt, it is a daunting task. Javon Liburd draws on his own experience as a change maker, and talks to other Queen’s Young Leaders, about how to keep yourself – and your project – going in the right direction.

“Let’s be honest,” says Patrice Harris, Founder of iLead Youth Jab Personal Development Workshops and a 2016 Queen’s Young Leader. “What are the chances that a young person in a country of conflict will be able to stop terror? Or a young person, in a crime ravished neighbourhood, will find the solution to gang shooting?”

It's a fair point, but she adds, “Some of the most successful start-ups and community projects were never designed to solve such an epic problem, but to fill a void.”

Planning

We all know the persons who always have a big idea, but are not successful because they failed to plan. Planning is an essential part of the process. Once you set guidelines and a timeframe, success becomes more realistic.

At the inception of my project, I constructed a proposal of how I wanted my organisation to be. I then passed it on to several persons for their perusal, comments and recommendations, just to ensure that what I wrote was practical.

This was all a part of my planning process – taking the time to ensure my aim and objectives were practical and achievable.

Subsequently, I began setting deadlines. Deadlines ensure you are on track with everything and increase productivity. For me, the planning stage of my organisation and many other projects that I am affiliated with, has been a training process – for my work, my patience, my delegating skills, communication skills, as well as my planning skills.

It has taught me how to properly assess situations, plans and events and to predict the most reasonable outcome in view of my experiences.

However, don’t fool yourself to think that once you have a plan, it is bullet proof. We must be mindful, that oftentimes many things that can go wrong, will go wrong. While there isn’t much we can do about things going wrong, we can definitely come up with a plan B.

To be a successful planner you must anticipate and mitigate risks. In essence, that means you must come up with a list of things that could go wrong and the routes you will take to solve the problem. No plan is too great to avoid hardships or downtimes. It is important that every detail is properly weighed.

Members of the St Kitts National Youth Parliament Association

The St Kitts National Youth Parliament Association. Javon is at the back, first on the right.

I am an active member on the executive of the St Kitts National Youth Parliament Association (SKNYPA). It is a practice of ours, that in every specific detail of a plan, we highlight a worst case scenario along with possible solutions (plan Bs) that would feed into the aim of proper and successful execution. Creating this list helps to ease frustrations when problems do arise.

Action

The final stage of initialising an idea is the action stage, where execution begins. Sadly, many ideas fail here. This is the part of the process when you actually get up and do something, where you face your fears and ignore the possibility of failure.

Regardless of what the outcome will be – good or bad – learn from it, advise others and keep pushing forward.

In my organisation – Joining Hearts, Heads and Hands (J3H) – I ensure that our actions are in tune with our mandate. It is key to focus on what exactly you stand for, rather than just doing good. Persons take advantage of people with that mentality.

Avoiding exploitation

Trevis Belle is the President of Making A Difference Everywhere (MADE) and a 2016 Queens Young Leader. He says, “It is a known truth that it is common to take advantage of the willingness of others. Likewise, volunteering, serving and making oneself known to a community, runs the risk of one being called arrogant, boastful or ‘thingsable’.”

“Thingsable” is a colloquial term used in St Kitts and Nevis to describe someone who is popularly known, yet irritating.

In small island communities, such as those in the Caribbean, volunteering and being in the spotlight, can make you susceptible to political parties and community organisations.

Three volunteers talk to a classroom of people

MADE volunteers give a workshop on bullying

Even so, in my view, it is your civic duty to step up. You see the problem. You know what’s lacking. Be the change. If you are fully aware of your aim, the route, and the time you’re willing to sacrifice – that is, your plan – then exploitation will not be an issue.

Leading volunteers

It takes one person to step up to assist in changing or helping a cause. But many others will step up behind you.

When you encourage someone to volunteer, you are asking that person to give of their time freely and willingly, notwithstanding that they will not receive anything in return.

But through volunteerism and community work, persons are able to build their network and learn essential communication, professional and life skills. And when that person does take up his or her rightful position in an organisation, they will be grateful for the opportunity to see an idea through to its actualisation and beyond.

Patrice Harris is the Founder of iLead Youth Jab Personal Development Workshops and a 2016 Queen’s Young Leader.

“Some of the most successful start-ups and community projects were never designed to solve such an epic problem, but to fill a void.”

Patrice Harris

Volunteers run a bake sale to raise funds for J3H

"It takes one person to step up to assist in changing or helping a cause. But many others will step up behind you."

Javon Liburd