Who Is Gabrielle Davida Gay?
Introducing Gabrielle Davida Gay: A Trailblazer in Education
Imagine having an audacious dream to change the world through education. Picture yourself pursuing that dream relentlessly, even in the face of daunting obstacles and hardships. Can you fathom the heartache of being told, as a young girl, that your ideas could never work simply because they had never been done before? Yet, despite it all, you possessed the courage to pursue them anyway. This is the extraordinary journey of Gabrielle Gay, the founder of The Erline Bradshaw Foundation and the creator of Barbados' and the Caribbean's most revolutionary education programs.
Gabrielle Gay's love for reading began at an early age. By the tender age of five, she had already immersed herself in beloved classics, such as Jane Austen, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson, captivating the nation of Barbados with her wisdom and intelligence. At just 10 years old, she astounded audiences on the Voice of Barbados Call-In Program, earning the nickname "Tom's Gabby." Her exceptional talents were recognized when she was honored as the "Outstanding Child of the Year" on V.O.B. 92.9 FM. Even at this young age, she actively participated in church activities, delivering sermons and singing with the Hosanna Chorale. Gabrielle Gay is the daughter of David and Margaret Gay, both esteemed medical professionals, and she attended the private schools of the Seventh Day Adventist Primary and Secondary.
At 13 years old, Gabrielle achieved a remarkable feat by obtaining a Grade 1 with distinction in the Caribbean Examination Council's English Language exam. By the age of 15, she had excelled in all her CXC and A Level subjects, earning distinctions. She pursued further studies at the Barbados Community College, focusing on English Literature and Sociology. Her academic excellence continued as she achieved the highest grade point average in English Literature at the college, earning her the prestigious John Wickham Scholarship for Excellence in English Literature, along with three other deserving recipients. Simultaneously, she received the National Youth Award for Community Service from the Ministry of Education for her Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Program. In addition, she became the JCI Barbados National Public Speaking Champion in 2017. Currently, Gabrielle Gay is a dedicated final year Bachelor of Law student at the University of the West Indies Cavehill Campus.
Gabrielle Gay's unwavering passion for education led her to establish the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Reading and Literacy Mentorship Programme at a tender age of 13. With nothing more than her meager allowance, she started this program in just five schools, but its impact grew exponentially over the past decade. Today, it has been implemented in over 118 primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions across Barbados, the Caribbean, and even beyond. This groundbreaking program goes beyond promoting literacy; it also focuses on mental health, recognizing the profound connection between the two. Through their awards, reading sessions, and leadership mentorship, Gabrielle's program fosters a love for reading and empowers students to become leaders in their communities. Collaborating with learning psychologists, the program provides crucial support to remedial readers and offers assistance to parents. It also partners with NGOs and corporate entities to ensure libraries are stocked with donated books.
What sets this program apart is its dedication to making education accessible for all. It pays school tuitions and provides uniforms and shoes to students in countries like Sierra Leone, India, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Malawi, and Vanuatu. Notably, this program holds the distinction of being the first, longest-running, and most awarded of its kind in Barbados and the Caribbean. It stands as a testament to Gabrielle's pioneering efforts in education. In recognition of her exceptional work, Gabrielle Gay received a remarkable honor. Her program became the only Barbadian education initiative in the country's 54-year history to be recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in the prestigious 2018 Queens Young Leaders Award Programme. This esteemed accolade acknowledged the program's pioneering role in education across the Commonwealth. Gabrielle Gay's groundbreaking achievements continued as she made history again in 2020. She became the first and only Barbadian to be selected as a certified World Literacy Foundation Ambassador, chosen from thousands of applicants worldwide. Alongside her fellow ambassadors, she partnered with the World Literacy Foundation to uplift over 400,000 children out of poverty through education in Colombia.
In 2009, the government of Barbados bestowed a National Youth Award upon Gabrielle Gay's Education Programme, recognizing its remarkable service to the community. This prestigious honor marked a significant milestone as the first and only education program to receive such recognition nationally. Gabrielle's contributions to education and history have been nothing short of groundbreaking. In 2018, the Gabrielle Gay Award for Excellence in Bachelors of Literatures in English achieved a remarkable feat—it became the first-ever award for this degree in the seventy-year history of the University of The West Indies Cavehill Campus. Additionally, it stands as the sole award for the Major of English Literature at the Barbados Community College. By earning these distinctions, the program has elevated itself as the highest-ranking award program for Literatures in English in Barbados. Not only is the program unprecedented in its achievements, but it is also the largest of its kind. With global and regional project partners and implementation across the Caribbean and every continent, it has truly made its mark worldwide. This far-reaching impact underscores Gabrielle's commitment to transforming education on a global scale. March 2021 brought another historic moment for Gabrielle Gay. She became the first law student in the history of the UWI Law Faculty to receive the prestigious University of The West Indies Cavehill Law Society Inaugural Presidents Award. This distinguished recognition is granted to an individual within the Law Faculty who demonstrates exceptional leadership both inside and outside academia, with a specific focus on humanitarian work.
In June 2021, Gabrielle once again made history in the field of education by being appointed as the Barbados
Sustainable Development Movement Ambassador to the OECS. Out of a pool of 250 exceptional youth leaders from
around the world, Gabrielle's Education Programme and organization were chosen by the Organisation of The Eastern
Caribbean States to be among the final twenty-seven leaders of the prestigious OECS SDM Ambassador Cohort 2021.
This significant recognition marks the first time that an education program of this nature has been selected for such an
honor. That same summer, Gabrielle was selected for the inaugural Caribbean Climate Justice Project Youth
Parliament. She and her peers achieved another milestone by successfully passing the only comprehensive 2021
Climate Justice Resolution of its kind to emerge from the Caribbean; mandating that States must prioritize
marginalized communities and human rights in climate responses, thus ensuring effective, sustainable, and equitable
Building on this accomplishment, Gabrielle launched two programs in 2021: The Femme Lex and Femme STEM Cohorts. These initiatives provide young women from Small Island Developing States, developing countries, and marginalized communities in developed countries with vital opportunities for certified mentorship, mental health support, education, internships, and advancement in the fields of law and STEM. Born out of the urgent need to address the education gaps exacerbated by the pandemic, as well as the global demand for governance focused on Small Island Developing States, the Femme Lex Cohort stands as the first and only certified legal mentorship entrepreneurship program of its kind in the entire Caribbean Americas. It connects aspiring female law and politics students from SIDS and marginalized communities to mentorship and internships in specialized legal fields such as Climate Justice, Technology Law and more.
Additionally, participants are certified in critical Sustainable Conscious Entrepreneurship skills through collaboration with the Barbados Youth Business Trust. As ambassadors, they go on to develop actionable policy outputs to advance justice in the Caribbean and worldwide. The Femme Lex Cohort has achieved remarkable results! From 2021-2022, it successfully reached 189 women law students and attorneys across the Caribbean Americas, Africa, America, Asia, and the United Kingdom. Its Mentorship Sessions have educated over 300,000 people! This program has become the top-rated legal entrepreneurship and mentorship initiative of its kind. 100% of FLC Ambassadors reported that the course was extremely pivotal in advancing their legal education, unanimously emphasizing the need for ongoing provision of this course to fully develop law students for their legal careers.
In 2022, the Femme STEM Cohort achieved a historic milestone in the realms of Financial Technology and Education. Through a partnership with renowned technology expert and Education Engineer, Mr. Sam Ahn from the esteemed Stony Brook School, they hosted global educational workshops that left an indelible mark. During these workshops, the FSC Ambassadors had the privilege of engaging in exclusive hands-on sessions, delving into the realms of social entrepreneurship and NFT Crypto Currencies. The Workshop Academy served as a virtual exchange program, bringing together students from Barbados, America, Japan, the United Kingdom, China, Guyana, Ireland, St. Vincent & Grenadines, South Africa, Togo, Niger, and South Korea, becoming the first of its kind in the Caribbean Americas.
Gabrielle's groundbreaking achievements continue to shine as she holds various esteemed positions. She is the first-ever Barbados Environment Conservation Trust Ambassador in 2022 and currently serves as the Strategic Advisor of the Policy and Advocacy Unit of The Caribbean Regional Youth Council from 2022 to 2024. Moreover, Gabrielle's impact in the field of education garnered international recognition. She was selected as the first-ever Barbadian AIS Forum Youth Ambassador by the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme's Archipelagic Island States Forum (AIS Forum), due to her pioneering work in education and her relentless efforts in promoting Climate Justice globally. In January 2023, Gabrielle's trailblazing journey continued as she was chosen by the United Nations Barbados and OECS to join the prestigious United Nations Youth Advisory Group. Aligned with the UN's 2030 global Youth Strategy, the YAG serves as the official advisory body for the entire UN Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Multi-Country Office. It empowers youth to actively contribute to the sub-region's sustainable development, working closely with the UN Sub-regional team.
Gabrielle's impact on youth and education extends beyond traditional avenues, with social media being one of her key methodologies. To date, Gabrielle is the most followed Youth Leader and Philanthropist in her niche, in Barbados. Her online presence showcases an impressive following of over 110,000+ across various platforms. Weekly, she reaches an astounding 121,000+ Barbadians and over 630,000+ individuals globally monthly: spanning the Caribbean, America, UK, Canada, and more. This remarkable and massive reach solidifies her as a powerful force for positive influence, and a valuable asset for any organization or brand with which she is aligned. Notably, she has also provided expert consultation, crafted compelling viral content, and collaborated with esteemed global entities such as the United Nations, The World Trade Organisation, Fintech Islands Expo, UNDP AIS Forum, Disney, JORD Watches, Robert Half, ThreadTank, Fox TV, U-Report Barbados, Colgate Palmolive, and many others. Her contributions have earned her features in multiple local and global magazines, as well as recognition on numerous prestigious "30 Under 30" lists worldwide.
Gabrielle truly embodies the essence of an educational revolutionary and youth philanthropist, with an outstanding 18 plus-year track record of innovation and remarkable success in education. Through groundbreaking accomplishmentsand unwavering dedication, she has become an inspiration and a catalyst for change, establishing herself as a true trailblazer. Her Foundation has reached, inspired, and impacted over 700,000 individuals through its programs, partnerships and advocacy: while her positive influence and leadership on social media has reached an impressive 10 million people over the past decade. Through her pioneering efforts, teamwork and partnerships: she has become a beacon of hope and a force for progress, leaving an indelible mark on the world and reminding us of the incredible potential within each of us - to create a better tomorrow.