Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Rescue them! - Mentor urges Jamaicans to assist a child in need

Published:Thursday | February 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels
Kaila Ricketts and her new mentee Omarion Scott.

EFFORTVILLE, Clarendon:

Omarion Scott first came to national attention in April last year when the story of how he and his friend Rohan Lynch switched shoes at school before they go to classes in the mornings because he did not have the perfect pair.

Since then, he has got shoes which has made life for him much easier, but he needs much more than material things. Omarion lives with his grandfather in the gritty Effortville community in Clarendon. His father is incarcerated and his mother is mentally ill and as such, his situation leaves much to be desired in terms of parental love and guidance which his aged grandfather is unable to fully supply.

As a result, Kaila Ricketts has decided to look after Omarion's physical and emotional well-being for as long as he needs her.

Ricketts told Rural Xpress that she was touched by his story published in Rural Xpress on April 28, 2016 and so she decided to take it upon herself to mentor, counsel and offer guidance to the 11-year-old grade five student. "He needs the love, care and attention that all of us need and so I took on the responsibility to look after him. It has always been my aim to look after a child in need and so now he is my new baby," she told Rural Xpress.

Ricketts who has a daughter of her own is a former member of the police youth club and has experience in mentoring and counselling children. She noted that taking on this role was not a difficult decision.

The soft-spoken Omarion says it affects him deeply whenever he sees his mother walking on the streets, noting that he is saddened to know that he is not in a position to help her and he is sometimes teased by his peers.

GENUINE NEEDS

Ricketts said in addition to having Omarion visiting with her on weekends and holidays, and providing emotional support for her new mentee, she will be assisting with school expenses in terms of books, shoes and uniform, as well as lunch money on a regular basis.

"Whenever we see children like Omarion with such genuine needs, we should always try to reach out and help to steer them in the right direction so they don't end up in gangs and fall victims to a life of crime," she told Rural Xpress.

rural@gleanerjm.com