No limit on what you can do

Stephen, a Bahamian Special Olympics athlete has added another Bronze to his collection after completing his Awardand is taught “there is no limit on what he can do.

Stephen is one of nine Award participants with special educational needs from The Beacon School, in The Bahamas, to have received the Bronze Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA), as it is known there.

The group, eight of whom are on the Special Olympics Bahamas team, completed all sections of their Award, including undertaking activities such as barbering, mask-making and growing vegetables in the school garden to donate to the community. Their Award programme culminated in a 15-mile hike and overnight stay for the ‘Nimble Nine’.

Stephen, who is an athlete with The Grand Bahama Chapter, competed at the World Games in Abu Dhabi in 2019, where he won a gold medal in bocce doubles and bronze in singles.

Despite already achieving such fantastic success, Stephen’s mum credits the GGYA with helping her son build very important independence and survival skills.

She noticed that Stephen has become more independent and helpful at home, since beginning his Award. His willingness to voluntarily take on greater responsibility at school, even led to Stephen receiving the Principal’s Award at his graduation.

“For a special educational needs child to hear you can, you can, you can - it’s awesome. This taught him there is no limit on what he can do.
I would say to other parents; research the programme and see how GGYA improves the lives of your kids.
It makes them more sure of themselves.”
- Doranda, Stephen’s mother

Stephen, who excels with numbers and computers, will soon be attending the Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute.

More than 30,000 young people have passed through the Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA) programme in The Bahamas. This is the second special educational needs group to accomplish the Award. In 2012, the first group of Bronze recipients also came from the same school.

Support to The Beacon School, and participants like Stephen, is funded by a grant from The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation to allow more at-risk youth, including young people with greater levels of special educational needs, to participate in the Award programme.

The Foundation supports our Award family in a multitude of ways, including extending our network of volunteers and operators – and subsidising Award fees, where necessary, to ensure that it is truly affordable for any individual, family, or community organisation. By donating to  the Foundation, you can help ensure that more young people than ever can access the Award around the world.