President: Girls need to stand their ground

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

President Christine Kangaloo listens as a schoolgirl as she hosted the second Storytime at The President’s House on October 4. – Photo courtesy Office of the President

President Christine Kangaloo says she wholeheartedly supports the Girl Guides movement because of its teachings, including the spirit of volunteerism and the concept of service to others, which help create a better world.

Kangaloo, the patron of the Girl Guides Association of TT, said she gets excited about ensuring young people have all the tools they need to fulfil their greatest potential.

She highlighted that the movement helps the youngest brownie to the oldest guide develop a range of skills and abilities that enable them to serve others better.

She spoke at a thanksgiving service at the Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Harris Promenade, San Fernando, on Saturday to commemorate the start of Guide Month (October).

The event marked her first opportunity to speak and interact with the association’s members since she became their patron. She assumed office in March.

Kangaloo said the Brownie Guide law calls upon brownies to think about others before themselves and do a good thing every day.

“The seniors and rangers’ further responsibility is to give service and be of service to the community,” she added.

“To me, this is what our society and world need now more than ever: people who are willing to serve others. It is said that the hands that serve is holier than the lips that pray.”

The association’s theme is “Prepared to Change the World,” the same theme for International Day of the Girl, commemorated annually on October 11.

It is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Kangaloo said the international association has a long and wonderful history of encouraging, educating and empowering people to be all they can be and fulfil their greatest potential.

The President appealed to parents and guardians to allow their girls to join the movement.

“The purpose of guide month, after all, is to raise public awareness about girl guiding and to recruit new members, leaders, and supporters,” Kangaloo said.

“We live in an age where girls need to be able to stand their ground, defend their rights and advocate for themselves. Our children, families and communities will all be the better when girls stand up for themselves and let their voices be heard.”

RC parish priest Fr David Khan welcomed Kangaloo, whom he called “a daughter of the soil of San Fernando.”

He called on leaders and aspiring leaders to lead with truth and integrity

Khan said in life, there are two outcomes of planning.

“Things can either go according to plan, or things can go haywire. There will be success, there will be failure in planning. But what forever remains is the purpose of all of us, which is to be people of truth and integrity,” Khan said.

To the President, the priest said people may not always like what she is doing, which is okay.

“As long as Almighty God is pleased, let your heart not be troubled because God will bless you. God will keep you because who God blesses, no man curse.”

He added that men and women will speak good and bad, but as long as God is pleased, she too would be pleased.

The priest encouraged her to stay on the right path, which he added can sometimes be difficult.

He said because of technology, people are exposed to a lot of information and can learn to do many things, but a major problem is deciphering the truth.

“Another word for the truth is integrity and that is why people need examples of people of the truth,” Khan said.

Khan told the association’s members that they must be guided before they guide. He encouraged them that before they do something, they must ask themselves, what Jesus would do?

If Jesus would do it, then they should go ahead and do it. But if Jesus would not do it, they should stay far from it.

“Every path leads to a destination, and if we are in the wrong path, we will never arrive at the right destination,” Khan said.

“But if we have the right path, no matter how difficult or hard the journey may be, we will always arrive at the right destination.”

Association president Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, chief commissioner Debra East, and other officials attended.