Although small in stature, Garnell Stuart-Limperes is a force to be reckoned with as she continues to branch out in different communities, and that includes one in West Africa, in her pursuit of positive initiatives for young people.
Last month, the Island Waves Sierra Leone West Africa Branch was started by a few interested individuals in the college community, and they now have 15 to 20 members involved.
“I have a lot of positive international links that I stay connected with on Facebook,” Stuart-Limperes said. “One of the young men showed an interest on my Island Waves Marsh Harbour Abaco Branch, and asked to follow our model to do something positive in their community.”
The West African center includes people of all ages and genders who are artists and musicians, and they are involved in similar activities like the one on Abaco. However, Stuart-Limperes said that her colleagues in Africa are still in the preliminary stages of planning.
So far, though, there’s been one general public meeting where they took pictures of themselves talking about future goals, and they have made UNITY cards with positive sayings on them – some of which hang on the walls at the Marsh Harbour Center.
Stuart-Limperes said: “They plan to do the same sorts of activities, but add in the beauty of their own culture. You don’t have to change the world, just light up your corner [and] make it clear where you are.”
As far as plans to visit goes, she said she would love to travel to Africa to meet everyone personally; however, her center on Abaco has to first receive more funding.
“It’s a beautiful thing when people from other countries show such an interest,” Stuart-Limperes said. “It brings strength and hope that we can keep each other grounded in hard times, and to keep each others’ spirits up when we feel tempted to give up on our expressive paths.”
From a more local standpoint, there are plans to open an Island Waves branch in Nassau as well as community centers throughout the world, so that everyone can unite, learn about each other’s cultures, and spread a positive message within our communities.
Her aim is to bring people of all ages, races, religions and walks of life together for a common goal to better lives and for the future of the youth. Even with that particular goal in mind, Stuart-Limperes realizes that it’s not going to be an easy journey.
“All of us who get involved are aware that this is a new concept to many, and we must be the role models for those who are either skeptical or waiting to see the direction in which this project is going in,” she said.