Little People, Big Moves | Athena Salmon wants to change the world
Introverted and observant are the first two words that may come to mind after having met 10-year-old Athena Salmon.
She may be overlooked in a room if she sits quietly, but once she opens her mouth and her curious brain and the wisdom that precedes her years are on show, your view of her will change.
"I like to read books, and I like talking with my older sister, Shedeen Jones, about everything regarding life - how we live, how the country is operating, my dreams, and all those things. We talk about crime, too, because everyone keeps killing each other in Jamaica now and I don't like it."
Young Athena told The Gleaner that when she hears about all the cases of children being raped, abuse and killed, it worries her.
"I feel very sad when I hear about these things. I have never had things like these happen to anybody close to me, but I still feel hurt when I hear it happening to other children," she said.
The grade five student lamented that some children bursting with potential will not be able to achieve because of criminals.
"If I were the prime minister, I would reduce the crime and violence in Jamaica by making sure that these people who are responsible are locked up. Some of the people who keep committing these crimes are people who were locked up before and were released," said Athena.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
She said with her love for seeing people becoming successful, she would also make education much more accessible and make children feel safer.
"I would also make education free or cheap, because right now to buy textbooks it is very expensive and I know there is more than the government can do, whether it is to get more money for it or seek donation. If I had one wish, it would be for the world to be better. You know how overseas you have kids shooting up schools and hurting other children, I would want that to end. I would want them to find out what kind of problem these kids that are doing the shooting are going through so they can prevent other kids with the same kind of the behaviour from shooting other kids."
Athena aspires to be an acrobat or a nurse when she gets older.
"I want to be an acrobat because it is something that I have always considered fun and I think I am good at it. I don't go to a class now, but I teach myself and I think I'm pretty good at it," she said.
Athena said she would also like to be a nurse because so many people are sick and are dying and she would love to be able to help them feel better.
"I can also see myself being a leader or a voice for other children. Even at school, my teacher sometimes put us in groups and I end up being the leader because they want to me to come with the ideas," Athena shared.
Filled with confidence, Athena said her teachers and relatives love everything about her.
"They say I'm disciplined, honest and trustworthy. I'm helpful and caring. I believe one should always stand up and never give up."
When Athena isn't busy asking questions and figuring out how the world works, you can find her dancing to hip hop music, practising gymnastics, cooking her favourite dish of ackee and saltfish with rice and doing what she can to make her family proud.