Tevin Shepard began his journey in youth work as a youth development worker in Canaries, one of the smallest and statistically poorest communities in Saint Lucia. “My drive for development and change led me to initiate, together with other villagers, a youth organization:ProjectCan.” ProjectCan, to this day is the only organization of its kind that places emphasis on empowering youth and students within their community to reach their maximum potential. It engaged them in education, entrepreneurship, leadership and recreation.
In 2012, he was elected to serve as the Second Vice President of the St. Lucia National Youth Council and the following year he received the award of Youth of the Year. Following this achievement, he worked steadfastly with the student body to reimplement and sustain student councils at every secondary school on the island.
The National Youth Council then implemented the Lucian Leaders’ Summit which is in its thirdyear and has trained over 300 students in self-awareness, environmental awareness, stress management, social media and technology, and youth involvement in effective leadership. The summit continues to grow and has formed partnerships with The Beckwith International Leadership Development programme, the United Nations Development Programme and other private sector organizations.
His passion for access to education led him to implement the Justice Mario Michel NYC Fund. This scholarship fund has made available tertiary education opportunities for underprivileged high academic achievers in Saint Lucia. The fund is supported by the Ministry of Education in Saint Lucia and the Canaries United Kingdom Association. Several disadvantaged youth have benefited and are now able to attend school and acquire a holistic education.
Tevin has also represented Saint Lucia regionally as the country’s representative in the United Nations Development Programme – Caribbean Youth Think Talk (CYTT), which is a platform to discuss youth issues and advocate and implement solutions. “Through the CYTT, I implemented the Youth Talk Through Arts (YTTA) initiative which trained over 300 Saint Lucian youth in the Arts and Entrepreneurship and provided a platform for youth to express themselves on issues affecting them using Arts. I also volunteered in the implementation of YTTA in Barbados,St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Trinidad where over 3000 youth benefitted.”
In June of next year, Tevin will be the first SaintLuican to be presented the Queen’s Young Leaders Award which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen. It is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme which celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.
This year’s Award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.