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Eleuthera teens served life lessons

McDonald’s, Men of Faith & Teen Challenge challenge Eleuthera youth to become tomorrow’s leaders
  • After an eye-opening experience at Her Majesty’s Prisons, students from Eleuthera were more than glad to enjoy a special lunch at McDonald’s. VINCENT VAUGHN

Published: May 23, 2013

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Twenty-five young men from Eleuthera visited McDonald’s recently to be treated to happy meals and a hearty helping of lessons they say they'll never forget.

Men of Faith, along with two leaders from Teen Challenge who know what it is like to take the wrong path, challenged the young men to become tomorrow’s leaders.

The young men, 11th and 12th grade students at Central Eleuthera High in Governor’s Harbour, were brought to New Providence by the Men of Faith, a non-denominational group of volunteers. The one-day trip to the capital started with a visit to Her Majesty’s Prisons at Fox Hill where they got a glimpse of prison life. Prisoners struck fear into the teens with stories of the hardships of incarceration and what led to it.

“After today I won’t be getting into trouble at all,” a student promised. “Jail was hard and scary.”

“I’m from Palmetto Point, Eleuthera," said Earla Bethel, president of DanBrad Ltd, the company that owns the local McDonald’s franchise.

"So I can identify with these youngsters and what it’s like to come from a quiet Family Island, trying to find their way in life. I am delighted to partner with Men of Faith and Teen Challenge in giving these young men some lessons of life. It brings me great pleasure to give back to my community.”

President of Men of Faith, Jason Thompson said they are proactive in their approach.

“There are many young men in need of encouragement and support to harness their skills and gifts and the Men of Faith set aside time to ensure that they are provided that,” said Thompson.

“We try to channel positivity into the lives of others in any way that we can, making a difference to our nation and the world, one life at a time.”

Bethel reminded the teens of the importance of believing in themselves no matter the odds stacked against them.

“I was young, female, with no experience in the fast food industry. There was so much working against me, but today I own my own business,” she told the boys.

McDonald’s Worldwide has made a commitment to community development and as the head of McDonald’s Bahamas Bethel partners with like-minded people to ensure that McDonald’s Bahamas fulfils this mandate.

The McDonald’s lunch was also served with a harsh reality check; words from the real life experiences of recovered drug addicts and now respected counselors with Teen Challenge, Eric Fox and Andre Chappelle. The teens showed fear and awe as Chappelle walked them through his life story, being born into a wealthy family, experimenting with drugs at a young age, becoming a vagabond who would do anything to supply his next drug fix and ultimately finding his way to becoming an inspiration for all.

Fox struck a nerve when he told them, “I made some bad choices and suffered the consequences, paying a very high price. But I can’t blame anyone. I’m not bitter; I just wish I had made better choices. I don’t want you young men to go down the path I traveled.”

Both men stressed the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and believing that they can be the change that The Bahamas needs.

“If I could make a difference in the life of one of these young men, then I would feel fulfilled,” Bethel said. "We need to get to the root of the negative issues that plague our society as early as possible, molding one life at a time with the hope that each one will mold another.”

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