At-risk youths shine at CVSS Summer Games
At-risk youths from several inner-city communities across Jamaica got the chance to show off their sportsmanship and talents at the 11th staging of the CVSS Summer Games at the UWI Mona Bowl earlier this month.
Among the groups and clubs that participated were the Boys' and Girls' Brigades, Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Grace and Staff, and Women's Resource Outreach Centre.
The Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) is the largest and longest-serving umbrella organisation of social services agencies in Jamaica.
Established in 1940, the CVSS has more than 100 affiliate groups who are members of the council, including most of the nation's major uniform groups.
CEO of CVSS Winsome Wilkins said the event is an opportunity for youth from various inner-city communities to come together to build friendships and relationships through sports and to take them away from their environment for a day, exposing them to other people.
"We want them to recognise that it's not just about their community, but there are youngsters in other communities who want to connect with them so they can make a new friend. We hope that the games will help the youth to recognise that they can be competitive and still be friends."
Wilkins said the games also emphasise the importance of a healthy lifestyle by getting young people active and showing them another avenue of engagement.
The event, which is sponsored by the National Baking Company Foundation, saw more than 500 youth participating.
Executive director of the National Baking Company Foundation, Christine Scott-Brown, said the foundation was happy to have been in a position to support the event.
"We are happy that we are in a position to afford these inner-city and at-risk youth an opportunity to participate in an event of this nature, where they will be able to display both their individual talents and team efforts."
National Baking Company Foundation patron Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson also serves as the president of the CVSS.
Seventeen volunteers from Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname were also on hand to participate in the annual event.
"This is the first time that this is happening," Wilkins said. "There is a Caribbean volunteer network and the CVSS is a part of that and as part of our mandate to promote volunteerism across the region, we made sure that their visit tied in with the summer games so they could come and see our volunteers in action and be shadows, and maybe also to replicate the event in their other territories, too."