Minister Cummings Shows Appreciation to 40 Under 40 Influencers

Minister of Youth Development and National Service, the Honourable Foster Cummings (Center), flanked by the Honourable Lisa Morris-Julian, Minister in the Ministry of Education, 40 Under 40 Influencers and Members of the MYDNS National Service Unit.

The Honourable Foster Cummings, Minister of Youth Development and National Service, hosted the principals, teachers, influencers and other stakeholders of the 40 Under 40 Programme, at an Appreciation Mixer on Tuesday July 02, 2024, at the Auditorium Restaurant and Lounge, Government Campus Plaza, Port of Spain.

The 40 Under 40 Programme provides youth, 14-16 years who are in third and fourth forms in secondary schools, with a platform to interact, engage with and learn from Industry ‘movers and shakers’, who are established entrepreneurs, entertainers, sportsmen and fashion designers, are under 40 years and continue to excel in various sectors.

During his address, Minister Cummings asked, “Why do we not celebrate successful young people?”; and in the same breath answered, “It is because our society has grown up on a diet of bad news.”

To change the narrative Cummings said, “Today we are showcasing the success of the 40 Under 40 Programme. The contribution of the influencers and those involved in the Programme is invaluable and even though the impact may not be seen now, it will be etched in the corridors of sustainable development in Trinidad and Tobago.

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The Youth Development and National Service Minister highlighted that there are citizens who give of themselves for the sake of a better Trinidad and Tobago and said he hopes that the students from the secondary schools visited, excel based on the lessons learnt from the Influencers. The Minister also publicly acknowledged performing artiste Rheon Elborne and reformed prisoner turn poet Nicholas Khan, for being the only influencers to visit 10 of the selected 25 schools.

The 40 Under 40 Programme encourages and empowers students to make attitudinal and behavioural changes for their personal and professional success. They are given advice from Influencers on how to enhance their self-esteem and confidence; become job creators as opposed to job seekers; improve their communication and leadership skills; and be informed on career options and how to focus on identifying and achieving career goals.

Dean of Discipline at the Moruga Secondary School, Lisa Atwater, shared the impact she saw the 40 Under 40 Programme had on our nation’s most treasured resource- our youth. She attested to the positive changes she witnessed in students following their interaction with Influencers, particularly among shy students who became more involved and were able to share their concerns and excitement about becoming entrepreneurs.

Ms. Atwater said she was grateful for the knowledge, direction, motivation and encouragement that the Influencers brought to her school and stressed that the 40 Under 40 Programme should be offered each term as opposed to each year.

40 Under 40 Influencer Tenniel Carew, who is also an Accountant and Youth Advocate, shared her experience and spoke on behalf of her co-Influencers. She noted that while the programme was meant to inspire and ignite a passion in young people, they too, were stimulated by the students’ uniqueness. Carew added, “Witnessing the impact on the students – from being timid and quiet to becoming confident and brave, was fulfilling.”

The 40 under 40 Programme visited 25 schools throughout Trinidad, with an engagement of 1,245 students; surpassing the expected target of 1,040 students.

The Honourable Foster Cummings Minister of Youth Development and National Service acknowledges and commends Rheon Elborne and Nicholas Khan, Influences and mentors, at the Appreciation Mixer for their stellar support to the MYDNS 40 Under 40 Programme