The 8th annual “Believe” Fundraising Gala reinvigorated the timeless message of the Christmas season – unity, hope, and goodwill – while championing the transformative youth development work of the Heroes Foundation.

Under the masterful direction of John Thomas, “Believe: Christmas Around the World” transported the Queen’s Hall audience on a global celebration of diversity featuring some of Trinidad and Tobago’s most exceptional performers.  The melodies and rhythms resonated with messages of unity and hope, echoing the essence of the work of the Heroes Foundation to transform lives and forge a brighter future.

The recipient of this year’s National Youth Award for Outstanding Youth Organisation, Heroes distinguishes itself by delivering long-term, curriculum-based, and evidenced-based programmes tailored to disrupt negative influences and guide young people towards building safe, sustainable futures.

The flagship Heroes Development Programme (HDP) equips secondary school students with the resilience, creativity, collaborative skills, and sustainability awareness needed to tackle key social, economic, and environmental challenges of today. 

The comprehensive 3-year curriculum was designed by Heroes with support for UNICEF to be culturally relevant and engaging for Caribbean children and youth.  The modules focus on psychosocial development, 21st-century skills, sustainability education, career planning, and youth-led behaviour-change projects. 

Members of the board of Directors of the Heroes Foundation, from L – R: Richard Sammy, Vice President, Republic Financial Holdings Limited; Franka Costelloe, Managing Director, Lifetime Roofing; Philip Julien, Managing Director, Kenesjay Green; Joel “Monty” Pemberton, Chairman, Resverba; Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards, Principal Medical Officer (Ag), Ministry of Health; Lawrence Arjoon, Chief Executive Officer, The Heroes Foundation.

Heroes currently delivers HDP to 320 local and migrant programme participants across the county in weekly activities which leverage a strengths-based approach and creative engagement strategies to cater to diverse learning styles and cognitive abilities.  This approach not only educates but instils a sense of global responsibility with local action, encouraging young minds to be proactive leaders in their schools and communities.

A significant impact of the programme is the way in which it helps young people set and pursue long-term personal and professional goals, fostering patriotism, preparing them to be skilled young professionals, and cultivating their ability to contribute sustainably to society.  Find out more here.

Brian Lara with young cricket fans at the SAVE launch with the Heroes Foundation

Multi-Talented Artist Inge Schlüer at Believe: Christmas Around the World.

The gala’s lineup was nothing short of spectacular, featuring the impresario himself, John Thomas, gospel sensations Candice Caton and Curtis Jordan, the soulful melodies of The St Hilaire Brothers, and the enchanting voices of Alyssa Joseph, Mahalia Pierre, Victoria Griffith, Farouk Jr, Justin Zephyrine, Nakita Gadsby, and Heather Dickson.

Violinist Inge Schluer’s strings, actress Cecilia Salazar’s dramatic flair, and the powerful vocals of 2022 Calypso Monarch Tazya O’ Connor, parang icon Alicia Jaggasar and Los Alumnos De San Juan, and the Eastern Chorale further elevated the evening.

Impresario John Thomas and Heather Dickson perform “What Child is This” with the Eastern Youth Chorale at Believe: Christmas Around the World.

The show’s stars however emerged as 7-year-old Xhaiden Darius who joined O’Connor to perform “Sheperd Boy,” and Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest Chutney Soca Monarch, 8-year-old Katelin Sultan, who was joined on stage for “Carol of The Bells” with Brian Mangaroo and the Khalnayak Academy of Dance.

As the curtains fell, it was evident that Believe: Christmas Around the World was a powerful testament to the power of community and the arts in fostering positive change.  The diverse performances undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who attended, and the support shown for the Heroes Foundation reaffirms the belief that together, we can make a difference in the lives of youth people, and in the future of our world.

Brian Lara with young cricket fans at the SAVE launch with the Heroes Foundation

Seven-year-old Xhaiden Darius and Ta’zayah O’Connor perform “Sheperd Boy” at Believe: Christmas Around the World.