Monday 5th October, 2020, Port-of-Spain: The Heroes Foundation (Heroes) a registered not-for-profit organisation is helping to bridge the digital divide through their newly launched Student Support Centre, where students can get technical support, use computers, or access the internet if needed. Heroes also distributed 10 tablets to students in their programmes and is working with programme sponsors to provide more support to students in need.

Heroes CEO, Lawrence Arjoon commented, “All of our programmes and activities are now delivered digitally, and most of our team works remotely, so our office has a lot of space. Students can come in for assistance by making appointments thought their Programme Coordinators, adhering to all the COVID-19 guidelines. We have also included modules on managing the digital transition into our programmes to help students understand and leverage technology in their everyday lives.”

Heroes works with over 500 youth participants ages 11 – 17 in the Heroes Development Programme (HDP) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Trinidad and Tobago (BBBSTT). These programmes were traditionally delivered in-person in schools, community residences, and corporate workplaces. They are all now delivered online using Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom to over 70% of programme participants, or via phone calls, as some students are still not online.

Jeannelle Forbes, an HDP student from Woodbrook Secondary School, in sharing her experiences, noted, “There wasn’t much going on over the past few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was getting a bit boring locked up at home. Heroes helped by doing lots of online activities with us and exposing us to learning in a new way. When school reopened online, I thought the transition from face-to-face to online classes was very easy because the past months with Heroes helped me to get accustomed to the online interaction, and I am very grateful for that.”

Heroes rolled out two new Corporate Workplace Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship programmes in September after moving the application, enrolment, screening, and matching processes online. The organisation also rolled out a digital Migrant Heroes Development Programme in August that targets 150 Spanish-speaking migrant youth living in Trinidad in collaboration with Living Water Community and TTV Solidarity Network with funding from the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF).
The next step for Heroes is to roll out its new digital platform in the coming weeks to allow more people to access the organisation’s activities.

Arjoon explained, “A fundamental part of the Heroes development model is to connect youth with leaders and role-models who want to contribute to youth development by providing positive and experienced guidance for dealing with life’s issues and challenges. We plan to do that digitally going forward, and to continue to empower the youth of Trinidad and Tobago as the world continues to change around us.”

Heroes Foundation CEO Lawrence Arjoon, HDP Coordinator Gyasi Monsegue and students from the Heroes Development Programme in an online session in June.