Violence Interrupters | Terry giving her all in Tel Aviv
When Wendy ‘Terry’ McGlashan gets a barrel of goods, she knows its content will have to be shared with her four children and some of the youths in ‘Tel Aviv’, a gritty inner-city community in central Kingston.
As a violence interrupter, McGlashan uses the sharing of what she has, plus other measures, to get the youths to turn from a life of violence, or to deter those thinking a life of crime is the only way to survive.
“From them see the barrel come in, mi have to pack and give, because every day, ‘Bwoy Terry, mi want to go and cook enuh, mi want little flour’. Mi have to give them because you don’t want them to go out the way,” said McGlashan.
“It is not a matter of say brucking them bad. I look at it, the Lord bless you with something, so that you can give it back, and the Bible says, give away what you want, so just like how mi would a want the flour and the tin mackerel to cook, somebody want it too,” she toldThe Sunday Gleaner.
McGlashan became a violence interrupter three years ago, and although her youngest child is just one year old, she knows that she has to leave her house to intervene whenever there is a conflict in the community. Her children understand the nature of her work, but sometimes they wish she didn’t have to be the one to do it.
“Sometimes, if them see a war or something, them say, ‘Mommy, something out fi bruk, gwaan outta road go quash it’,” said the 38-year-old peacekeeper.
“They see mi go to one side and hear what them have to say, and go to the other side and hear what them have to say. So when mi done now and come in, one of them would say, ‘Bwoy, sometimes mi dying for you to get a better work’,” she shared.
But McGlashan says she does it because she loves her community. She loves her children even more and she wants them to grow in a peaceful environment.
Five per cent drop in homicide
“To be honest, it is not nice when shot a fire and you can’t sleep, so as the violence interrupter programme started in the community it kind of cool down certain things for the past one year, going two years now. We got a five per cent drop in homicide down by Parade Gardens, so it is a big progress, a work in progress,” said McGlashan, who wishes that there was more funding for the programme, so that more youths can be assisted to go back to school and secure a skill.
“I have three students now and PMI (Peace Management Initiative) sending them to UCC (University of the Commonwealth Caribbean) and they are doing food preparation, and they are going for about one year now,” she said.
“The other day, they carry things come for me. They carried doughnut and things that them bake and they say, ‘Listen to me Terry, this is it now, they recommend us to go Pegasus to do culinary’,” said a beaming McGlashan.
Until more funding is available to help these youths, she will continue to give from the little she has so the peace can be maintained.
“I can’t tell them no, I have to give them and then go and borrow it for myself, because you don’t want them to go out of the way,” declared McGlashan.