Probing Portland | ’Pagey' preventing crime one child at a time
At 45-year-old Sandra 'Pagey' Heron is mother to the four children she gave birth to, six she has unofficially adopted and scores of others, she is determined to keep out of trouble in the east Portland community of Manchioneal.
"I do it out of the love. Once I see that they are going to get into trouble I just tek them and put them inna mi house. I don't have a lot of money but I do it for the love.
"Once the young people have something to do they will not have time for crime and other illegal activities so I try to get them attached to a programme or something," declared Heron who targets youngsters from ages seven to 24.
"Me try to get some of them in the youth programme, me try to get them into HEART (Trust/NTA), and for others me try to get them in the HOPE Programme in Port Antonio. I get the forms and I walk around with them. Who can't fill it out I fill it out for them and let them sign it," Heron told The Gleaner on Tuesday.
She noted that some of the young men had dropped out of school, or finished school and were on the corners smoking weed or gambling, so she has made it her duty to get them into development programmes.
"Manchioneal has had its incidents of crime over the years, mainly in the Reach area, so I try to get to all the youths from Hector's River to Reach in a programme," said Heron who has faced difficulty getting some of the young man placed because they do not have basic documents such as a birth certificate.
"Right now I am in the process of getting out four 'birth papers' because they don't have any. I have to go to the parents and get the information and try to get them," added Heron who was recently given the Prime Minister Medal of Appreciation.
It's a labour of love but it is one Heron enjoys as long as her community remains one that is crime free.