Many people, including Tunde Folawiyo understand just how important it is to encourage young people, and help them to reach their full potential. When a student dedicates years of their life to completing a series of goals which they have set for themselves, it seems only fair that their hard work and perseverance be rewarded.
In the case of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, many participants say that their experience, and the skills they acquire throughout their journey are reward enough. However, the DofE committee makes it a policy to ensure that the young participants’ achievements are publically acknowledged and celebrated, which is why, each year, they host dozens of Gold Award Presentations (GAPs), in venues all over the world.
Last month, a GAP was held at Government House, for 99 Australian students from Hunting Tower School. Bareetu Aba-Bulgu, who recently received the Empowering Monash Women Award, was chosen as the representative for the Gold recipients. Despite being just 18 years of age, Bareetu has already achieved a great deal, due to her involvement with the DofE.
Anyone who is familiar with this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, will know just how much time and effort the DofE demands of its participants. Over the last three years, Bareetu became a volunteer for the Waverly Hockey Club, learned to play the double bass, and applied for, and was awarded a cadetship with the renowned Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
The above-mentioned Empowering Monash Women prize required her to carry out a long and challenging list of tasks, all of which she completed in addition to her academic studies. Speaking to a journalist at Government House, she described her exchange trip, which allowed her to attend an Australian indigenous school, as the most rewarding aspect of her DofE experience, adding that the trip had taught her a great deal about the importance of respecting the land.
Another GAP was hosted in the UK a few weeks ago, at Herstmonceux Castle. In total, 44 students from East Sussex received their Gold Awards for their participation in the DofE programme which, in this part of the country, is run by East Sussex County Council. One of the recipients, named Chloe Braybrook, gave a presentation; during it, she spoke of her DofE volunteer activity, which involved working with an organisation that runs residential camps for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following her speech, she and the other attendees were all awarded their Gold certificates, in recognition of their years of hard work. Councillor Nick Bennett praised the recipients, and commended all of the DofE staff and volunteers who sacrifice time in order to run the DofE programme in East Sussex.