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A Brief History of GUYDA

By: Patrick Patterson

The genesis of GUYDA – Guyana United Youth Development Association of New York Inc. is indeed unique due to the effort of individuals who asked Leslie Stewart to Join them and be the President of this new not-for-profit organization, GUYDA. These individuals are Beryl James, Joan Joseph, Mavis Atkinson, Meighan Waddell, Carmen Jerrick, Hazel Glenn, Sherry Hamilton, and Minette Melville.   GUYDA strived because of the collective efforts of its members and the uniqueness of a man, a visionary - Leslie Stewart.  It would be remiss of me, as the PRO of this organization, not to feature, not to highlight, not to acknowledge his leadership.   As a matter of fact, it is my obligation and my greatest appreciation to do so.


After serving in the political arena for several decades, Mr. Stewart brought a few people together to form GUYDA.  He stressed that this group must not have allegiances to any political party and must work outside the political arena.


The uniqueness of his leadership style and recognition of each member’s significant role in the organization is a true testament of the success and growth of the organization.  His kindness and generosity are hallmarks of his remarkable leadership.


It would be naive of me not to acknowledge the challenges GUYDA faces.  The fact of the matter is, although the organization was founded with the youth in mind, it does not really comprise, reflect the numerical representation of our young people. Yes, we cater for young people, educationally, technically, etc. However, their involvement is marginal.  To my mind, one of the many challenges we face is to seek out young people, ask them to propose programs, ideas, etc., for themselves, and for GUYDA.  By doing this, we will guarantee the bright future of GUYDA.   My brothers and sisters, I implore you, I beg you, not to let the vision of our leader, Mr. Stewart and our efforts die. 


We have professionals in diverse fields such as educators, engineers, accountants, legal, education, social work, and religious, who support the organization. It is crucial that we harness all these gifts to enhance the growth of GUYDA and guide them in whatever way they desire.  They are our “now”, they are our future!   Inspire them to work hard by giving back something to GUYDA… it belongs to them.  I am convinced we are ready for the challenges and will shape the future.  Some of us, like myself, are professional retirees. I am sure more of you would be happy to dedicate more time to GUYDA.  Please contact us if you feel you can be of support to the youth of Guyana and to the Caribbean to some extent through GUYDA.


“Let’s go hands together for Guyana’s Youth”!



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