Open Your Heart Foundation

At the Argus Group, we are passionate about programmes focused on youth development, education, seniors and wellness. Last year, our 70th Anniversary Ggrant initiative #OurFutureisYou revealed a wealth of ideas put forward by the community and we were overwhelmed by the number of programmes dedicated to promoting a better quality of life in these areas. We are proud to support our 70th Anniversary Grant Winner - Open Your Heart Foundation’s inspired, new initiative, the Bridging the Gap Trades Programme.

This latest venture aims to connect Bermuda’s young people with experienced tradespersons to encourage, inspire and prepare them for their future. We caught up with co-founders Devon Simons, Vincent Lightbourne and Debrina Simons, PR & Marketing Director, for updates on their winning idea, which they plan to launch later this summer.

Open Your Heart Foundation

Bridging the Gap

With a vision to “enlighten, empower, motivate and unite the youth” and a mission to “create safe, friendly environments without boundaries,” they are taking a “back-to-basics” approach to support the island’s youth.

“It’s easy to sit them down in a classroom but some of them are not passionate about the things they are learning,” Debrina said. “By focusing on trades, such as plumbing, carpentry and mechanics, cooking and sewing, we will teach the youth, ages 11 to 18, crucial life skills, such as resume writing, work ethics, integrity, and time management, while bridging the gap between the elderly and the youth.

“Our core values are to stay committed, to be selfless, hold integrity and accountability, empathy, passion and most of all, love. We’re bringing our communities together by sharing love. My brother Devon said it best: from Flintstones to Jetsons – meaning their wheels were their feet, now they’re flying. We want the children to leave knowing what they want out of the programme and for their future.”

Planting Seeds

Devon Simons believes that taking home the Argus Choice Award was not chance, but a matter of hard work, dedication and, above all, heart.

“I don’t believe in coincidence. There is no such thing as luck. You reap what you sew,” he said.

It began with a community Boxing Day party in 2011. Annual Good Friday celebrations came next alongside back-to-school initiatives and then meal drives out of their Somerset mainstay, Country Kitchen. It was while feeding the senior population that they reached their lightbulb moment.

He remembers hearing success stories from those who went through the island’s trade schools. “They built their own homes, sent their kids to universities. Why don’t we glamourize that? We have this valuable information – this intel – but nobody’s focused on getting it back. We should have our own trade school in Bermuda.”

They hope to eventually employ staff to teach the kids.

“Some people say, kill two birds with one stone; we say, feed three birds with one crumb. This is just a small part of the bigger picture. If we can connect these guys with the kids that we want to mold, we can fix that crack in the roof of a community club or a school.”

“We thank Argus for their support as we all navigate life beyond this pandemic. The whole reason for getting these kids at our events is to plant seeds to better our future,” Devon explained. We want to teach any youth that we’re stronger together.”


DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.