Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Nicole Theriot
USAID/Y-RIE Frontline Youth Workers Graduation
December 12, 2023
Good morning, everyone.
Honorable Minister Persaud; Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ms. Phelps Feeley, Chief of Party, USAID Youth Resilience, Inclusion, and Empowerment Program
Social Service Workers, Guidance Counselors, other special guests;
Members of the media
It’s such a pleasure to be with you today to recognize this important milestone in our partnership with the government of Guyana & to join you in celebrating a group of energetic and dedicated professionals who are making a real difference in the lives of young people.
Over the past six months we have worked with Ministry partners, especially those working on the front lines with young people including social service officers, guidance counselors, and others, to consider youth’s past trauma as they interact with them. Through this capacity building, these officials are positioned to use an assets-based approach as they work with youth. We partnered with these social support officers to equip them with these essential skills, so they are able to better understand the unique needs of the young people they work with and can build resilience in Guyana’s youth, as they transition to adulthood.
Former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama once said, “Kids will invest more when they feel they’re being invested in.” We’re all here to do this important work — investing in children. Youth recognize and appreciate that investment and are encouraged to reciprocate through actions of their own, as you heard in Simeon’s testimonial. Youth need and greatly value your support. I want to especially recognize and applaud the social support officers for their work. I want to acknowledge that you often work in challenging circumstances, with limited resources, but you do it anyway, every single day. Thank you so much!
I’m proud that the U.S. government invested in the enhancement of your skills, through USAID’s Y-RIE program. The service you provide is invaluable to both of our governments as we seek to build safe, prosperous, resilient, democratic societies. We recognize that an investment in the well-being and success of our young people is the most important investment we can make.
USAID’s approach focuses on working within institutions, supporting capacity building, improving performance across multiple positions and agencies. Our goal is to make a broad impact and sustain these improvements, ultimately shifting for the better the experiences and life trajectories of young people.
In addition, future activities planned under Y-RIE will work directly with the youth, addressing other psychosocial needs, education completion, their involvement in the workforce, family life, community dynamics, and will build on and complement the important work you all are doing.
Hearing your testimonials today was truly inspiring. I look forward interacting more with these amazing young people and their families so we can build on this impactful program.
I appreciate the strong partnership that USAID has with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, under the leadership of Minister Vindyha Persaud, as well as our partnerships with the Ministries of Education and Health. I hope they remain strong and productive and continue to serve the interests of all Guyanese, but especially youth.
I’m committed to continuing to support your work throughout my time here in Guyana. Our shared goal of seeing young people lead successful, fully productive lives is much too important to give anything less than our very best effort.
Thank you all very much!