Using my Award experience to overcome natural devastation
Nathan Pearson, from the Bahamas, is 16 years old. He has achieved his Bronze and Silver Awards and is now completing his Gold. Nathan spoke to us about how the skills he learnt through the Award enabled him to help his community recover after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Making a real difference
"After Hurricane Matthew hit, many islands including my own, Andros, were left devastated. We had no power for weeks, we had to search for water and many people really didn’t know how to survive. It was really shocking but by doing the Award, I had learnt to be proactive and confident and so, as part of my Service section, I volunteered to help get the island back on track.
So in the aftermath of the hurricane, I volunteered at the renewal centre and we would often visit people’s homes to help clean up the debris and rebuild their homes-and their lives-as much as we could.
I will always remember my parents telling me that they were truly proud of me for the volunteer work I was doing and they even commended me for my bravery. I think they were particularly surprised because before participating in the Award, I would always just be found in the house playing computer games and not getting outside. I quit everything I had ever started. But I felt like I bonded with the Award and became determined to go right through to Gold. Through my Service section, I could see that I was really making a difference in my community and so even though there were definitely challenging times, I didn’t want to give up on the Award because it had already given me so much.
Discovering a new me
I have gone from being a shy boy who sat around at home and really only interacted with people digitally-even with my friends-to quite a confident, adventurous individual who loves meeting new people, enjoys teamwork and goes above and beyond to accomplish what I want to achieve. I’m honestly surprised by the person I have become."
Nathan’s teacher Mr Williams agrees:
"Previously, Nathan didn’t want to do anything. He barely spoke in class and wasn’t enthusiastic about any of his subjects. Then he discovered the Award and he really fell in love with it. It changed him! Things seemed to come easier to him and he quickly went from being a 1.2 grade student (out of a possible 4.0) to a 3.8-he’s top of the class!"
Not only have his grades improved dramatically but Nathan is now looking beyond school to his future:
"I have discovered the beauty of my island and learnt just how crucial it is to look after it; eco-tourism contributes a huge amount to our economy. Taking part in the Adventurous Journeys and volunteering on eco projects for my Service section has awakened a new passion in me and I am now considering eco-tourism as a possible career option.
The Award has given me so many fantastic experiences; it’s been an honour. I don’t want my Award journey to end with Gold. I hope to carry on volunteering with the Award so that I can give more young people the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to have."