Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 03, 2017 (SKNIS): Interviews to identify the 2017 class of the 25 Most Remarkable Teens in St. Kitts and Nevis are underway.

Senior Youth Officer, Sahira David, said the selection process began last week with two sessions, one in Basseterre and the other in Charlestown. The nominees are sharing their story with a three-member panel that is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates based on a specific criterion

“The process is going smoothly,” said Ms. David, noting that she is looking forward to hearing the positive stories of those selected. The youth official added that it was especially important to highlight such given the recent rash of crimes committed by a few young people.

“The Department of Youth Empowerment’s 25 Most Remarkable Teens programme is one of those initiatives that says hey they are not all bad,” she said. Ms. David pointed to some of the past profiles, particularly those in the “Courage to Overcome” category and stated “they are so young and have faced so many adversities and then they pull themselves together and turn into productive, meaningful human beings and that is the kind of development that we look for.”

Celebrating the positive contributions of youth is captured in the draft Federal Youth Policy that was finalized in May 2017after public consultations and other inputs had been added. The teen recognition programme fits within the category that deals with Youth as Agents of Change and Development, which has youth excellence as a priority.

“We want youth to access opportunities and they play such an integral role in community and national development,” Ms. David shared, noting the 25 Most Remarkable Teens programme can serve as a doorway to achieve many personal goals and aspirations.

The selection panel reconvenes this week to continue interviewing the nominees. It is made up of an attorney and two retired civil servants who each has an extensive background in youth-related areas. In keeping with the tradition of having a fair selection, no staff member of the Department of Youth Empowerment sits on the panel. The interview process is expected to run through the month of July after which the successful candidate will be chosen by the panel. The 25 young people will then be recognized during a Special Sitting of the Federal Parliament and receive an award during November’s observance of Youth Month.