Friends of Utah: Herald Alves

Herald Alves with students and their achievements at the Red Village Primary Herald Alves with students and their achievements at the Red Village Primary

Mr. Herald Alves is a passionate advocate for youth in his home country of Guyana. Before he visited Utah, Mr. Alves established several initiatives for at-risk youth that serve as models for other similarly challenged rural communities in Guyana, including community skills training programs and sports development training programs for young people between the ages of 14 to 35. In addition, he served as the Youth Culture officer in the Ministry of Education for the Department of Culture and engaged in many initiatives to preserve traditional cultural practices. In one such initiative, Mr. Alves worked with village leaders of Wakapoa to create a training course for youth who had left school. It taught traditional methods of basket weaving and other handcrafts which not only gave the youth a skill with which to engage in the local economy but ensured cultural retention. In visiting Utah, Mr. Alves hoped to better understand volunteerism and civic engagement in the US and how good practices by US organizations could be integrated into his projects in Guyana. 

In April 2018, Mr. Alves visited Utah as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State administered by Institute of International Education (IIE). 

During this program, Mr. Alves had the opportunity to meet with various organizations focused on civic engagement and volunteerism like the Sierra Club, Community Foundations of Utah, Salt Lake Education Foundation, Utah Film Center, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

During his interactions with these organizations, Mr. Alves noted that he gained a better understanding of large-scale volunteerism and how those projects were coordinated. He also recognized the great benefit and importance of networking with organizations of similar interest to more effectively address the needs of one’s organization. These experiences helped him further his current community work and create new initiatives in his home country, Guyana. He shares, “Over the past year, myself and friends were able to put together a few community aid projects in our region to help the children and young ladies. Some of these activities were sports, health walks, hands-on skills training programmes, women empowerment training programmes, youth debate competitions, etc.” His current project draws from the resources and volunteer time of friends, family, and nonprofit organizations to provide Christmas party bags and toys for 300 children. 

Mr. Alves is grateful for his experience in Utah and shares it with his friends and family. He hopes to rebuild close relationships with the Utah resources and create mutually beneficial connections with them on future projects and initiatives. We wish him the best in his endeavors.