Three years ago we met Tember and three of her friends as we introduced YO! World to D.S.D. Do Something Different. Back then it was almost unheard of that four teenagers would want to focus some of the precious time giving back to the community.
Focused and determined to succeed, D.S.D’s founder, Tember Cadette, is back on our cover and with an even more inspiring story.
So we are going a little in depth with your interview today. Tell us a little about Tember, who she is, what she enjoys doing and what has she been up to since we last spoke.
Tember is someone who just wants to make a difference. I spend a lot of my time reading and finding ways to grow and broaden my horizon. I’m all about learning and self-development but when I’m not doing that I’m watching Netflix and ordering KFC for the third time this week, there’s no in between. Since we last spoke I have actually been quite occupied. Do Something Different recently celebrated 3 years. I graduated from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, participated in both Miss World St Lucia and the National Carnival Queen Pageant. I’ve travelled a bit and spread my wings, launched MADE a makeup services line and become the Deputy Band Leader for Socamania which is a Carnival Band in the UK. So essentially trying new things and seeing what sticks.
We’ve featured you before but with three other young ladies. The DSD project has grown significantly since then and we have seen that you have been recognized for your work. Give us a refresher on DSD and how has the foundation been changing lives over the years and also on your recent award.
It’s really a pleasure to be back. I remember the last time we spoke you asked if we were sure we would be able to keep Do Something Different alive and here we are. When DSD was born we started with four members including myself and now we’re 32 members strong. We’ve launched a franchise that is DSD Canada and also have a few members in Barbados. Essentially Do Something Different is youth empowering youth for success, it’s the mantra by which we operate. Our fundamental belief is that we can only succeed if we have the necessary resources to do so and as a result, every year we donate fully equipped school bags to a number of students on the island. We’ve made over 300 individual donations and continue to donate to other institutions namely Boys Training Center and the new St. Lucia Sports Academy, both of which we plan to do more work with in the future. We also focus on sensitization, utilizing social media platforms and school visits; here the focus is youth engagement and just creating a safe space where youth can speak with youth.
What were you doing when you found out that you were the recipient of the award and how did you feel?
Actually, it’s quite ironic because I really wasn’t having the best day. In that exact moment when my phone rang I was crying out of pure frustration (I always think I can do more and patience isn’t my strongest suit lol) so you can imagine I was extremely caught off guard. At first I was in shock but then so overwhelmed with humility and gratitude. Anyone who heads a non-profit organization will tell you, some days you wonder “Why didn’t I start a business like everyone else?!” but it’s worth it. I never say “I” won the award, I say “we” because it was truly a win for DSD and an incentive to keep pushing because we’re going in the right direction!
What do you want the organization to look like in 5 years? 10 years?
We’re extremely excited for the future! In the next 5 years the goal is to continue branching out, so we are looking at Barbados as our next location. We want to quadruple the number of donations in an effort to reach every school on the island. The aim is to continue to increase our membership as well. More members means more networking; we’re creating a circle of powerful young men and women in Saint Lucia. Without revealing too much, we honestly just want to reach more youth! Quality education is a right and not a privilege. It may seem like it’s “just” stationery for now, but we underestimate the power of these seemingly little things when you can’t afford it. Mentorship, donations and training to build more wholesome individuals is the focus.
What in your life inspired you to become a philanthropist?
If I’m being honest, I’m not sure. I’ve always been this way and perhaps it’s something my parents instilled in me. I always speak up, especially for those who can’t defend themselves. I don’t mind being unpopular if it means doing what’s right. I’m a very strong minded individual and I hate seeing injustice whether its poverty, sky high youth unemployment rates, animal cruelty or simply if you’re impolite to someone and I heard. Life is hard and we’re all going through a lot, we need to be kinder!
As with any young woman we are sure philanthropy is just part of your life, what else are you passionate about and how are you able to juggle it successfully?
I’ve really been getting into modeling of late, it was always something I did but never really took seriously however,dance will always be my first love. I’m passionate about anything to do with performing, arts, culture and JounenKwéyòl is hands down my favourite time of year. I’ve learned the more you do, the easier it is to juggle so I make it work. I plan out all my days to the hour and balance is key!
Which of your philanthropic endeavors are you most proud of?
Hands down DSD in its entirety! To watch the group grow and to have so many amazing team members on board who share the vision and passion, is unmatched. It goes beyond school visits and donations, we’ve created a family and we’re growing together.
Do you ever feel like philanthropy is an obligation?
Yes. Yes because we owe it to society and our communities to do our part in giving back. None of us would be where we are today without the help of another somewhere along the way. It’s important to return the favour when we are in a position to give. There’s a common misconception that giving always means money or in large quantities. Many times, the person you borrowed your umbrella so they wouldn’t get wet in the rain and consequently sick… is your philanthropic duty for the day.
Anything else you’d like our community to know about you and your fantastic imitative?
I would like to make a disclaimer that although you may see me the majority of the time it’s not just me. DSD wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a team of hard-working young people behind the scenes. I’d like to thank all of them for being a part of the initiative and for not allowing me to give up. Racquel who’s been my right hand since day one, Stefy, Tervelle AKA KYVRT Visuals, our senior members. Tisa Dawes (President), Katelin Samuel (Vice President), Marcus Giraud (Secretary), Tyler Theophane (Assist. Secretary), Jardelle (PRO), Camille Charlemagne (Treasurer), Verne Cox (Social Media Manager), Mikela Mitchell (Head of Fundraising), Lirandra Pierre (Coordinator for DSD Canada) and all our other members THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!