Home | Geared Towards Hope and Opportunity for the Youth: My NExT LEaP Experience

by Mahal Rosel

As a teacher, I consider myself a youth development worker, and my participation in the Nurturing Excellence in Training (NExT LEaP) Young People through LEaP organized by the Ateneo Learning and Teaching Excellence Center (ALTEC) through the SUGPAT Program was an experience that touched my heart deeply and left an indelible mark in my journey as youth development advocate. This transformative training took place at the Top Plaza Hotel in Dipolog City, spanning five days of immense learning, growth, and connection from July 18 to July 22, 2023.

The moment I stepped into the training venue, I was enveloped by an atmosphere of genuine warmth, camaraderie, uniquely matched with very high caliber professionalism and expertise. The promise of the program was clear – to equip participating organizations with the tools, knowledge, and resources needed to craft impactful programs for the youth, especially those from underserved communities. The agenda was thoughtfully designed to cater to all aspects of youth development, focusing not only on employability skills but also on creating a safe, nurturing environment for holistic growth.

NExT LEaP fellow, Mahal Rosel, presents the assessment on their organizational strengths and assets on day 2.

The training’s attention to detail was evident in every aspect, beginning with the provided accommodations that offered comfort and rest after engaging sessions. The organizers’ commitment was further showcased through the provision of full board meals that provided sustenance for both body and soul, fostering a sense of unity among participants during mealtimes. The equitable transportation allowance demonstrated their dedication to ensuring everyone had access to this enriching experience.

Throughout the training, the program not only delivered comprehensive training kits and necessary documents but also imparted knowledge and insights that were both practical and profound. The sessions were facilitated by seasoned experts in youth development, who shared real-world experiences and practical strategies to engage and empower young minds. The immersive learning experience not only enhanced our capacity to design age-appropriate programs but also illuminated the power of empathy and understanding in fostering positive change.One of the most inspiring aspects of the program was the commitment to giving back to the community. The technical assistance provided, in the form of grants for employability skills training, displayed a genuine desire to empower underserved youth. The attention to detail was commendable, ensuring that operational expenses were covered to facilitate the seamless execution of these programs. It was heartening to witness the dedication to ensuring that resources reached those who needed them the most.

NExT LEaP fellows of Zamboanga del Norte demonstrating teamwork in one of the ice breakers during a workshop.

As the training concluded, there was a shared sentiment among participants – that we were not just part of a program, but part of a vibrant community committed to shaping a brighter future for the youth. The connections formed, the knowledge gained, and the unwavering support of the ALTEC team left an enduring impression on my heart. This experience was a poignant reminder that positive change begins with a deep understanding of the needs of our youth and a resolute determination to uplift them, one program at a time.

The program’s impact was further amplified through the mentorship and coaching offered throughout the journey. The guidance provided by experienced mentors fueled our passion and confidence, reassuring us that our efforts were part of a larger movement for positive change. We look forward to the opportunity to share our programs on the YOMA platform or Youth Agency Marketplace soon. It will eventually extend our reach and enable us to touch the lives of even more young individuals who could benefit from our initiatives. 

The NExT LEaP organized by ALTEC’s SUGPAT Program was more than just a training; it was a transformative journey that reinforced my belief that through collective efforts, compassion, and dedication, we can truly nurture excellence within our ultimate clients – THE YOUTH. From these initiatives, I am elated to be part and parcel of a network of efforts geared toward the creation of a future that is brimming with hope and opportunity.