Brent Alexander Scotland completed a Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons.) in Communication / Commerce at UOIT in Oshawa, Canada in June 2015, and graduated with a Masters (MSc) degree in Management at the University of Nottingham, England. He is currently pursuing a Graduate Diploma of Law at the BPP University Online in England.
The Halo Foundation Generation Y, an organization in which he has served as President since 2015, is comprised of mostly young people under the age of 30. It is an organization led by youth, for the youth. The UN Sustainable Development Goals play a major role in our work. Some of the initiatives that Brent has led his members to engage in include:
- SDG 2– Zero Hunger
In 2019, Halo Generation Y sponsored the “Soup Kitchen” initiative created by the Ministry of Social Transformation. By sponsoring this initiative, they were able to feed the homeless and hungry living in the nation. Free hot meals were provided for the nation’s needy.
In 2017, President Scotland led his team in donating $4000 to the Rotary Club to purchase food for the poor, and accordingly packed and distributed the food bags at the Meals on Wheels initiative. Halo Generation Y alsodistributes food baskets annually during the Christmas season to families who otherwise would not be in a position to enjoy a hearty meal during this festive season.
In 2020, the unemployment rate in Antigua and Barbuda increased because of national lockdowns across the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. An estimated 70% of Antigua and Barbuda’s economy is derived from tourism. Travel was severely reduced due to these lockdowns. Many persons were left without monthly or weekly incomes. As a result, the most vulnerable people in our society were unable to pay bills or have enough money to eat. Halo Generation Y was able to partner with a local supermarket to fund monthly groceries for vulnerable persons in our society, ensuring that Gen Y played its part in reducing hunger during an economically stressful period.
- SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
In 2017, after Barbuda was devasted by one of the strongest hurricanes to traverse the Atlantic, Halo Generation Y was able to fundraise via online campaigns to the tune of over EC$40,000 for the Barbuda disaster recovery. These funds were donated to the local Red Cross.
- SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 14 Life below
In 2020 of this year, Halo Generation Y engaged in a clean-up campaign to beautify Antigua and Barbuda. The group is very mindful of the changing climate – wildfires in Australia and California, and more frequent and intense hurricanes and other natural disasters. To play their part, Brent led the charge in engaging his team in environmental clean ups to keep our nation pristine, not only for the benefit of residents but for tourists as well. In the coming months, Brent and the other members of his team will be playing a greater role in planting trees across Antigua and Barbuda to foster a more habitable environment for bio–diverse life. In 2019, Halo Generation Y partnered with the National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Environment and the Environmental Awareness Group to host a group of students on a field trip to a local pond. Students were able to learn about the importance of mangrove protection as well as engage in bird watching and other exciting activities.
- SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
Futureproof: suicide and mental health awareness – Mental wellbeing is also an issue which Brent and his team take very seriously amongst our youth. Since Halo Generation Y is an organization mostly run by youth, for the youth, in 2019 they hosted an event called Futureproof, the purpose of which was to accommodate approximately 90-100 young people from both public and private schools and teach them about character building. We also spoke on the taboo topic of suicide awareness, with the assistance of a qualified counsellor who Generation Y engaged from Jamaica. The event was a success. During the sessions, a young person who spoke to Brent was given his personal phone number and invited to call any time he had a need. A year and a half later in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, that same student reached out to Brent. The purpose for his call was to let him know that he had kept his number for more than a year and a half and that he was on the brink of suicide. Brent, being the proactive person he is, acted quickly in order to secure the urgent assistance that was required in order to save this young man’s life.
He has since stayed in touch with him and has also put him in contact with a local counsellor who is partnering with the Halo Foundation to counsel young men and women. This has also led to the Gen Y President being put in contact with two other young people who have been suicidal. True to form, Brent has been able to secure proper counselling for them. Brent confirms that it is hard for a young person to discuss suicidal feelings with their parents. The young man who reached out to him felt victimized by his parents. He was happy that he has been able to step in and slowly improve his life. One reason for his depression is that during this time of Covid-19, many of his friends were not able to congregate and socialize as they used to. Being in the house all of the time weighed heavily on his mind and contributed towards mental deterioration. In addition to mentoring these young people, Brent and his other Gen Y colleagues have engaged them in initiatives such as our clean ups to keep them occupied during the Covid-19 pandemic and to help alleviate their suicidal and depressive feelings. Plans are also in place to get them involved in tree planting across the nation.
Kilimanjaro – In 2020, Brent Scotland had the privilege of being one of the first young persons from Antigua and Barbuda to climb to Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Choosing to raise funds through an extreme sport such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was attractive to him not only because he was able to raise funds, but to raise awareness and bring attention to a charitable cause on the island. He also has a penchant for overcoming challenges and climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world presented the perfect test. Additionally, Brent also wanted to show young people that even if they come from the smallest nation on earth, they can overcome any obstacle in life, no matter how large or difficult it may be.
Engaging with orphanages – In 2018, Halo Generation Y worked along with orphanages in Antigua and Barbuda to mentor the young people, some of whom were feeling lonely and hopeless. They were able to take them exploring parts of Antigua and Barbuda; teach them new skills such as cooking (and ,for the female members they were exposed to make up artistry).
Anti-bullying – Being the youth arm of the Halo Foundation, Generation Y has played an instrumental part in raising the issue of Anti-bullying in Antigua and Barbuda. The Halo Foundation Anti-Bullying campaign is currently being run in 6 pilot schools across Antigua and Barbuda. Generation Y has been instrumental in engaging local celebrities to speak about the issue of bullying and encouraging talent building by getting young people to use their gifts to speak about the issue of bullying in our nation. Brent has also filmed a video with a local young singer who composed an anti-bullying song. The song was extremely popular on social media. In addition, he is in the process of conducting video interviews and podcasts on several important and topical issues, inclusive of antibullying.
- SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing
His current work at the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) is useful on policy making to reduce the demand and supply of drugs in Antigua and Barbuda. His workplace serves as the National Drug Observatory, collating statistical information on drug use and supply within this jurisdiction. On an annual basis, they produce a Drug Information Network Report which includes all of the country’s drug data. ONDCP continues to work with key stakeholders to ensure that drugs stay off of our streets and that those who are addicted to drugs are better protected by engaging in educational campaigns and encouraging rehabilitation. They are also instrumental in the creation and implementation of the nation’s Anti-Drug Strategy.
- SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities
In 2017, after Hurricane Irma, Brent was an intern at the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission in London. During my time there, he was able to assist the High Commissioner in sourcing EC$1 million dollars’ worth of medical equipment from the Jacob’s Well Appeal to re-equip the devastated Hanna Thomas Hospital in Barbuda. Similarly, during his tenure at the High Commission, he assisted in organizing medical equipment, hand sanitizers, ac units and school equipment for the Sir McChesney George Secondary School.
In my spare time he likes to play sports. For the period 2016-2017, he was a member of the University of Nottingham Tennis Society and had the opportunity to play against numerous schools across the UK. He currently play tennis three times a week.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree in Canada, he captained the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Intermural Soccer Team for the 2012-2013 academic year. He has been involved in sports from a very young age. In 1997/ 1998 and he successfully achieved a certificate of completion for participating and training with the Arsenal Soccer School. He has also been a member of both the Island Academy Football Team 2008 – 2010 as well as the Hayden Walsh Cricket Academy 2001 – 2004.
Brent is widely travelled and loves to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, kitesurfing, photography, and film. He also has a passion for screenplay writing.