Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has called for more support to youth development and the promotion of their talents.
Madam Taylor spoke over the weekend at occasion marking the graduation ceremony of 30 students from the Liberian Youth Orchestra project held held in Paynesville City Hall, where VP Taylor said the development of Liberian youth talents and development of their capacities was essential to the country’s development drive.
According to VP Taylor, it is time that Liberians begin to think positively about things that would contribute to the rebuilding process of the country, naming the promotion of talents as one good example to encourage some of the serious-minded youths.
Even though she expressed key interest in youth talent development, VP Taylor spoke of the need for these ideas to be backed by quality education. “Liberians have talents, and as such, it should be time that every one of them rally to support education as their primary objective,” VP Taylor said.
She called on the graduates to take advantage of the various opportunities that comes their way, saying, “It may lead them to future opportunities.”
VP Taylor praised Eric Wowoh, executive director of Change Agent Network for his vision to change Liberia through education, an idea, which she said has introduced an orchestra project to some of the youths.
She called on the graduates to maximize the training they have acquired to make positive changes in Liberia and elsewhere. Taylor said the knowledge that the 30 Liberians have obtained in playing string instruments is just a step forward to the development of other talents in Liberia, lauding the Change Agent Network for providing an enabling environment for the project.
The Founder of the Liberian Youth Orchestra and Music Director, Julie McGhee, commended the graduates for utilizing the opportunity and making their country proud.
Madam McGhee narrated that the program had a difficult beginning, because of the student’s lack of knowledge on Violin and Cello, which were used for the program.
According to Mrs. McGhee, the Liberian Youth Orchestra has set three goals to have the program more effective.
She said the first goal is geared at raising US$50,000 for academic 2019/2020 school year.
The amount will include money for the purchase of additional instruments, and ongoing repairs of current instruments, food for the children after school, fuel for the generator to run the lights, distance learning equipment, and ongoing internet service costs as well as airfare.
The second goal is accordingly intended to expand the program into another school so that students from other public and private schools could enroll in the orchestra program.
“The cost of expansion is US$ 75,000,” McGhee said.
“This will include the purchase of new instruments, music stands, music, equipment for distance learning, ongoing airfare costs, classroom operation expanses, which would include hiring another teaching assistant.”
In the same way, Madam Taylor said that the third goal is the largest of the Liberian Youth Orchestra, focused on the establishment of a music school, where students from across Liberia Would have the opportunity to study music together.
Madam McGhee has placed the cost of said project at US$150,000. She maintained that this project would, include construction of a building, equipping the facility with instruments, music, music stands, and all items necessary.
The LYO project was initiated by Mrs. McGhee to bring hope and a future to undeserved children through music education.
The LYO is registered and accredited to operate as a vocational education program under the auspices of Change Agent Network (CAN). The program started in November, 2018 at the Heart of Grace School in Jacob’s Town Rehab Community, Lower Johnsonville, and is geared at teaching music education with an emphasis on violin and cello musical instruments.
CAN is a Christian-based non profitable organization with a goal to transform Liberia through Education, Mentorship, Sustainable Development and the Hope of the Gospel. CAN schools are self-sustained through low cost school fees payment plan, which enable parents and students, who do not have physical cash to pay school fees with local resources like livestock and cash crops (The New Education Barter System for Liberia.)
CAN has built 14 schools nine homes for the homeless families across the country.
According to Mr. Wowoh, the organization intends to build schools in the 15 counties before 2030. Currently CAN has built schools in Montserrado, Bong, Lofa, and Nimba counties.
Wowoh, a former Liberian refugee, now residing in Dallas, Texas wants Liberians, including those in the diaspora to support education, something he believes is the main contributing facto to the country’s being at the low end of development.