March 16, 2012 It was a bridging of the generational gap as 24 persons representing various non-government and community-based organisations from across Mayaro took part in a bpTT-sponsored two-day training workshop held at the Mayaro Resource Centre this week. The session, titled ‘Working with Children and Adolescents’, is the first in a series of capacity-building workshops that will be conducted for NGO/CBO representatives during the year. Fully sponsored by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago since 2003, this initiative has empowered the various organisations in the south eastern region, providing training for more than 2,000 persons since inception. Explaining the focus of the initiative was Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT: “These community organisations are the most effective means of transforming communities. BPTT is empowering these groups by providing practical knowledge and important skills sets which they will utilise to help transform Mayaro into a model community. We are really just giving them the power and the energy they need to transform their lives and uplift their communities.” Administered by Cross and Associates, the workshops blend theoretical and practical training in specialised areas, such as organisational leadership, financial management and budgeting, managing community projects and communication skills. Overall, the initiative serves to provide each organisation with the institutional capacity to develop and manage projects that are focused on expanding economic and social sustainability and improving the quality of life of the residents. Reinforcing the benefits of this particular training session was Cross and Associates’ facilitator, Joanna Alexander, a university-trained social worker. “It has been realised that the most effective and sustainable initiators of change are young people. This workshop is focused on giving insight into the behaviour, mentality and importance of young people. In essence, it is showing the members of these organisations how they can better relate to the youth as they enlist the support of the youth in achieving their goal of bringing betterment and change to Mayaro,” Alexander explained. The two-day training workshops will continue throughout the year, culminating in December when the various NGO/CBO members will be presented with Certificates of Participation. Framing the impact that the training sessions have had on the community was Joanne Gaff-Mitchell of the La Brea Village Council. “Members of our organisation have attended these sessions and through our shared experience we have been more effective in our implementation and successful completion of community projects. Also, these workshops have helped us to network with other organisations and work together to build a better Mayaro for everyone,” Gaff-Mitchell explained.