NCU criminal justice students start 'Help a Family' initiative
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Mandeville, Manchester:With a busy schedule, insurmountable workloads and the trials associated with getting a tertiary education, members of the Association of Criminal Justice Students (ACJuS) at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) have decided to focus less on themselves and more on others through the start of the 'Help a Family' outreach.
This outreach, according to public relations officer Cheree Morris, was conceptualised out of a sincere need by the members to impact lives positively and not to fulfil course requirement.
"The association has, since the start of the year, began a few small outreach projects, but after careful consideration, we decided we needed to do something bigger ... . So many persons are in need, and we are in a position to make their lives a little better, so we took the opportunity."
The initiative involves finding a member of a family, preferably a child who has shown significant potential but does not have all the resources.
"The president of ACJuS, Odane Bailey, and I identified Amanda Young, a 13-year-old student at the Villa Road Primary and Junior High School in the parish. A decision was made to 'adopt' her and provide specifically for her immediate needs, daily school expenses, food and clothing," stated Morris
Amanda, who is from a single parent family, with a mother who is mentally challenged, was all too happy for the association's gift of $10,000, and expressed her continuous effort to work hard.
"I really love school, but sometimes I can't go because I don't have any money ... . Most times, I only come to school because of the donations made by members of my church family, close family members and friends."
She continued, "I want to be a health and fitness expert - more so, an athlete. I know I can become something in life ... I know that anything is possible through hard work, dedication and prayer, and that's what I'm going to do."
Amanda's mentor and guidance counsellor at the institution, Rose Smith, commented with pride on the initiative taken by ACJuS and has also described the selected recipient as perfect.
"Amanda is a disciplined, well-mannered student who is kind and very willing. Students like Amanda give me hope that nothing is impossible."
Smith hastened to use this platform to also advocate for more parental support for students in grades seven through to nine as this is a critical stage in their development and a combined effort from teachers and parents can only maximise the students' output.
With a beam in her eyes and a new-found zeal to do well, Amanda is looking forward to passing her Grade Nine Achievement Test and to move on to Bishop Gibson High School.
"I am determined to go there as that's the institution I love. I can't say thank you enough. Mrs Smith says I'm blessed and it's true," she said.