Chief executive officer of the South St. James Trust, Huntley Medley, explained that “There is the real need for many of the girls and boys in our communities to be assisted with taxi fare, lunch money, school supplies as well as career guidance and mentorship so that they remain in school and resist the temptation to be early recruits for the gangs that are violence producers in our communities.”
Another element of the programme targets unemployed young men and women for skills training in established institutions as well as in community workshops. The Trust intends to enter into partnerships with schools, the HEART Trust NTA, churches and other entities to expand its current training programme to provide skilled workers for hotels, restaurants, the construction sector and the expanding business process outsourcing operations (BPO) sector in particular.
Medley added that in many of the communities now plagued by violence, there has also been an absence of meaningful social and recreational engagement. “In the past sports provided a means of social interaction and an avenue for channelling the energies of young men and women. We need to return a variety of properly organised and supervised sporting competitions in our schools and communities and these activities require significant and ongoing funding,” Medley said.
To this end, in an example of the collaboration and supportive approach needed to stem crime and reduce its negative effects on the society, Anglin Global Affiliates and Sea Gardens Beach Resort are supporting a pre-Christmas fundraising reception, book sale and silent art auction being hosted by the South St. James Social and Economic Development Trust on Tuesday, November 28 starting at 6:30 pm at the Sea Gardens Beach Resort on Kent Avenue, popularly called Dead End Road in Montego Bay.
Entrance contribution is two thousand dollars ($2,000) and proceeds will go towards the Trust’s education and sports programmes aimed at helping to fund grants for youth in the communities of upper St. James to remain in schools, enrol in skills training programmes and engage is sport activities.
A wide variety of books will be available for sale and paintings and sculptures will be auctioned with patrons indicating on bid sheets their wish to purchase art pieces and their bid prices.
The Trust’s education, skills training and sports assistance programme will be rolled out in 2018 and comes against the background of an epidemic of gun violence in many formerly quiet and peaceful communities in the parish. The South St. James Trust is particularly concerned about the recent space of killings by the gun in the communities of Cambridge and Retrieve and notes that other communities including Anchovy, Roehampton, Bickersteth, Mount Carey, Flamstead and others have experienced an increase in gun related violence in recent years. Between last Saturday and Monday this week (November 9 to 10) for example, three women were brutally murdered by the gun in the Cambridge community.
Companies and individuals are being encouraged to support the fundraising effort and project implementation through financial assistance and other forms of support such as the provision of venues and services. “We encourage the public to support our fundraiser and we appeal for individual and corporate contributions to meet our objective of accelerating meaningful positive social and economic transformation in our communities. No one person, organisation or community can do it alone. Social transformation requires the collaborative support of all stakeholders,” Medley noted.
The Trust CEO pointed out that the planned programme builds on other existing fairly small scale initiatives and has been further inspired by a current scholarship programme which he heads and which targets students at his alma mater, Cornwall College for financial assistance and mentorship support provided by old boys who graduated in 1985.
One student from Cambridge in South St. James is among four students who recently benefitted from the Cornwall College Class of ‘85 scholarship programme.
Medley added that: “While the Class of ‘85 programme will continue with its focus on Cornwall College, the South St. James Social and Economic Development Trust will, in its initiative, be targeting all schools in southern St. James from which students will be identified for assistance. At the same time, out of school youth will be assisted to obtain skills training and where possible, work placement.
The sports component of the programme will assist school teams with supplies and we intend to promote community football, netball and basketball competitions planned and supervised in consultation with the respective parish sporting associations as well as the police youth clubs where they exist and the community security and safety branch of the police.”
The South St James Social and Economic Development Trust is a voluntary, not-for-profit community based organisation that is a vehicle to assist in the social and economic development of communities in southern St. James. It has provided scholarships, established community based economic enterprises and operates a hospitality skills training initiative.
The Trust is also completing a sanitation project in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Foundation (JSIF). The JSIF project provides movable and permanent garbage receptacles for several communities in the Greater Anchovy Area and has trained and deployed environmental/sanitation wardens in the area.
- Countries: Jamaica