Sunday, 4 August 2013

LABOUR OF LOVE: Pat Ramsay on her youth mentorship programme and choosing to let life flow

PORTRAIT OF A LADY: "When you open yourself, you never know what surprises await you."

Harvard-bound and having the time of her life, the ever young-at-heart wonder woman is finding true contentment and valuable life lessons as mentor of an ambitious group of future movers-and-shakers. 

How has Pat Ramsay been keeping her mind fresh and supple lately? Via the youthful excitement and fun challenges that come with spearheading a mentorship programme for future Jamaican leaders. 

"It's really quite interesting to watch these young people. I learn so much from them," says the renowned educator and cultural activist of the spirited bunch that makes up CP4J (Collaborative Possibilities for Jamaica), as I catch up with her on a warm Tuesday evening outside Mona's Philip Sherlock Centre, where the hit play Taboo is now showing. "I really am concerned about leadership of our young people in this country, so that's where I'm putting all my emphasis right now with this programme." 

Recently selected (among a group of 25 individuals from around the world) to take part in a 2014 leadership initiative at Harvard University, Ramsay says she's avidly looking forward to channelling the new techniques she'll acquire into this labour-of-love passion project. "What I'm hoping to get from Harvard are more skills, more tools that I can use to help guide these youngsters and facilitate the genius in all of them," explains Ramsay, well known for her years-long commitment to other serious causes like the International Women's Forum. 

Qualifying for Harvard's "intense programme," which commences next January, includes (among other major criteria) the completion of at least 25 years in a noted leadership position. 

"I had to go up for an interview, and when I came back I told my daughter that even if I was not accepted, I would not have done without the really amazing experience," Ramsay tells TALLAWAH, before amusingly citing her age as 60++. "So it's really, really quite an honour and, in a way, surprising, because this was really not in my window. But when you open yourself and allow life to flow, you never know what wonderful surprises await you."

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