New momentum for youth development consortium

The Journal continues its reporting on one individual’s mission to convert Cayman’s youth into asset builders of the future.

The Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium has suddenly gained traction: with the support of community-minded businesses the initiative has recently been able to purchase a bus, which has made a huge amount of difference to the young people it serves and to those who are developing the programme.

Sylvia Wilks is the director of the CIYDC and as such it has been her job for the past five years to create and organise opportunities for young people’s development by encouraging companies and individuals to come on board and assist her with her mission.

Her goal early this year was to raise sufficient funds from businesses to purchase the van in order to facilitate the transportation of the youngsters in CIYDC’s afterschool programme to attend various opportunities afforded them. Based at the Sir John A. Cumber School in West Bay, Sylvia says this transportation was vitally necessary.

“The Cayman Islands Squash Club in South Sound recently offered us the chance to take our youngsters to their courts once a week to give them the opportunity to try out the sport. The van has given us the ability to let the youngsters enjoy this wonderful opportunity,” she says.

As well as fun activities such as visiting the squash club, Sylvia says the van has enabled her to carry out an extremely important aspect of the programme – that of serving the community.

“We now have the ability to visit the elderly in West Bay and the youngsters are looking forward to reading to them,” she says. “The benefits are twofold: The children get the chance to practice their reading and show off their literary skills while the old folks gain great pleasure in having youngsters around to brighten up their day.” Service to others is an external asset where children have an opportunity to serve others in their community. Most of the children had rated themselves low in this and thus the more we provide this opportunity in our programme the more we are increasing their asset. 

CIBC, PwC, Scotiabank, KPMG, Citco and Grant Thornton all contributed to the funding of the van. 

Angilynn Chan, PwC’s Assurance and Business Development manager says: “Our contribution is being used towards the purchase of a vehicle to transport children in the CIYDC’s programme to activities that they may not otherwise be able to participate in. 

“PwC Cayman is about creating value, with our clients and our community. We are very pleased to support the CIYDC’s initiatives, which give at risk youth the opportunity to develop a greater sense of value. 

“We hope that this investment will assist the initiative for many years into the future.” 

KPMG also says it is pleased to support the Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium in their Supporting Cayman Young Campaign.  

“Our contribution went some way to help them purchase a van, which will be used as their main form of transportation to the facility and their initiatives. Our community committee represented by a cross section of our staff has prioritised youth projects for this year and we felt that the objectives of this campaign will have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of the young people,” Kris Beighton, advisory partner and head of the community committee, says.

Cordella Chollette, financial controller with CIBC Bank and Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, says: “We commend the Cayman Islands Youth Development Consortium for their efforts in supporting Cayman’s youth and giving them the tools which will help them to become responsible and functional members within our community, the results of which will be of benefit to the country as a whole. We are to proud support this worthy cause.” 

Of course, CIYDC is not stopping here. Their next objective is to build up community input in each of the districts, so that every young person within the Cayman Islands will have the opportunity to be part of asset building programmes. 

“My next step is to meet with the Cayman Minister’s Association to see how we can integrate the churches into assisting with the programme,” Sylvia explains. “I’m very excited to be working with the churches as I believe they will play an integral role within the asset building programme.”

Creating committees from volunteers in each district will be the building block for the programme, she confirms.

Once the basics are in place, afterschool and weekend programmes can be created, similar to the one Sylvia already has established at the John A Cumber School. 

“We will be presenting our programme to PTAs in each district across the Islands to explain what it is we have to offer, as well as hopefully gain new volunteers to the programme,” Sylvia says. “Once we have the critical mass of people that we need, we can further develop the programme. 

If you or your organisation would like to help Sylvia in her bid to develop Cayman’s youth, call 917-3885, email [email protected] or visit  


From left, Correction Reading Teacher Zoya Lawrence, Citco’s McCarron McLaughlin, CIBC’s Cordella Chollette and Ms Sylvia Wilks with young students Ernosto, Keanu and Nathanial with the new bus.