By Virginia Sowers
When 16-year-old Denzel Matthew left his rural village of La Plaine in Dominica last Friday en route to the United Nations in New York City, it would be an understatement to say he was a tad nervous.
Accompanied and reassured by Francis Joseph, ChildFund’s national director for Dominica/St. Vincent, Denzel rose to the occasion from the moment he landed at JFK.
Representing ChildFund International, Denzel appeared at three separate events related to the United Nations Commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Throughout the day, Denzel mingled with ambassadors and U.N. officials.
While in New York, Denzel also had the opportunity to meet with a number of ChildFund donors as well as fellow Dominicans now living in the U.S.
As Denzel was preparing to return home, he graciously agreed to one more in a long line of interviews.
Q: What will you tell your family, friends and teachers about your experience at the United Nations?
I will tell my family and friends that speaking at the United Nations was a great experience for me.
Q: How did you feel when you stood up and delivered your statement before the large crowd at the United Nations?
At first I felt nervous and afraid, but I had a lot of support from ChildFund and friends, so I just stood up and delivered.
Q: What did you learn about yourself during this trip?
I learned that I’m a great photographer and a good speaker.
Q: Do you think that it is important for young people’s voices to be heard at the United Nations?
I think it’s important for young people to be at the United Nations because many people from all around the world go to the United Nations, and the young people’s voices will be heard.
Q: What was it like to meet the United Nations ambassador for Dominica?
Meeting the U.N. Ambassador (Hon. Crispin Gregoire) for Dominica was great! We even sat down at a panel discussion together.
Q: Has this trip inspired you to keep working on your goal to help other children when you return to Dominica?
This trip has inspired me in many ways, and I hope that I can help other children reach their goals by introducing positive and fun activities that they can take part in.
Q: Do you think this experience has changed your life?
This experience changed my life by opening a new door for me and allowing me to see my future in a positive and successful way.
Q: What was the most fun thing you did while in New York City?
Everything I did while in New York was fun and exciting! I went to see the play “Shrek” on Broadway. We went sightseeing and walked through Central Park. We went to see 3-D movies. And even though I was scared to speak at the United Nations, I enjoyed it and it was fun.