BARBADOS’ YOUTH have an ally in Dwayne Grazette and the Eden Lodge Youth Charitable Trust. From an early age, Grazette said he was interested in helping his fellow man but he had a particular love for assisting young people and this has stuck with him to his day. “I always wanted to help people. From 12 years
of age, I attended the Eden Lodge Development Council meetings but was thrown out as they didn’t have anything that catered for youth so I got together
with other [young people] and organised the Eden Lodge Youth Group,” he said.

Bus fares and lunch

Grazette, taking a break from his work at his home office in Long Bay, St Philip, told the paper that even at that tender age, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He said among the achievements of the group was arranging to pay the bus fare and buying lunch for other students. He also managed to hold community events, although he needed an adult to get the required police permissions. Grazette said the group was officially registered as a charity in 2009, later
becoming a trust. He said the name reflected its origins but it was an organisation with an islandwide reach. Now 36, he said he had managed to make all kinds of
connections and was in a position to really lend a hand to needy young people. “We help more than 200 children from all over Barbados; every week they
are people who need help. We provide families with foodstuff, pay utilities, arrange housing and more. “We have many different contacts in many different areas and can do even more than the politicians in some cases – in fact, politicians sometimes come to us for help,” he said.

Despite this, Grazette said corporate Barbados was not always as cooperative as he would like and he wanted big businesses to realise they had a responsibility to give back to the public from whom they make their profits. “We would like some areas of corporate Barbados to be more receptive and help out more. Companies make money from the people and they should be more willing to help. Some of these people will turn to crime if we don’t intervene and that will adversely
affect those companies,” he said.

Only reward

Grazette said he felt so strongly about helping the needy, that he sometimes dipped into his own pockets. He said seeing someone flourish after getting a hand up was all the reward he needed. “We have been able to take a lot of young people and bring them out of poverty situations. Today I see youngsters who were struggling in school pass for [top schools]. “I feel so good knowing I can help people but I don’t do it for any recognition or awards; I do it to help those children in need,” he said.

Via [carlosatwell@]

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