Guyana’s National Under 17 Football Coach and Youth Leader, Sampson Gilbert, AKA “Benayah” founded the Cavel Foundation Youth OrganiSation (CFYO) in 2015. CFYO was named after Benayah’s son, Cavel Gilbert, who was struck and killed by a vehicle in June of 2013, on Mandela Avenue and Pineapple Street. He was only 22 years old. Perhaps, that is why the Foundation aims to help with the development of youths, through recreational and
mentorship programmes conducted by Benayah himself during the August holidays. These activities occur at the CFYO youth camp located on Mandela Avenue and facilitate some 40 children Monday to Friday from 10:00hrs to 15:00hrs.
The CYFO youth camp is said to be one of the most vital initiatives that have come out of the East Ruimveldt community in the past decade. Many residents believe it plays a fundamental role in the coordination and advancement of young people; it is a simple solution to many of the community’s problems. Whether it’s the decrease in the percentage of school dropouts, criminal activities, domestic abuse or merely being a support for children with a background of neglect, the CYFO offers aid directly and indirectly. The camp offers a safe place where children from ages seven to 14 could spend a few hours daily, learning various self-development skills through football or a one-on-one conversation with Benayah.
Benayah has dedicated a great fraction of his life towards the development of his community and was deemed an influential figure by residents of East Ruimveldt. He is an honourable member of the Guyana football scene and has obtained an outstanding track record for his impeccable contribution toward this front. His contributions on and off the field are respected and glorified by many past and present football players, both from the national teams and the football clubs here in Guyana.
The drive behind the initiative
When asked about the reasons why he has dedicated his time towards this scheme through personal funding and ongoing presence, Benayah said: “As a child, I grew up only wondering about these kinds of things, so providing this opportunity to these kids, was like providing it to my younger self.” He added that his dream is not only to coach and to develop football players, but more so to help with the development of individuals, who can contribute to society positively: the honing of self-esteem, dignity, character, and the reassurance that the ghetto does not define who you are and who you become.
Meanwhile, Shaquon Favorite, a young man of 12 years, apart of the Guyana National Under 13 football team and a member of the CYFO youth camp expressed just how important attending camp was to him. “I like coming here every day because ‘coach man’ teaches us how to discipline and how to respect others,” Shaquon said. He added that his parents were happy that he was a part of something uplifting; he could improve his football skills, stay out of trouble, build character, and keep busy during his summer break.
The Cavel Foundation Youth Organisation will continue its summer camp until Friday, August 25, 2017, and will restart in July 2018.
Benayah added that he would continue to be dedicated and urges young people who do not have anything to do during the day, to visit the camp. If anyone is seeking information about being apart of this positive programme they can contact Benayah through his email BenayahLevi@yahoo.com or his contact number +(592) 682-6416.