CDA's 5K drives hope for therapeutic centre
Participants and supporters got a taste of real entertainment with a purpose at the inaugural staging of the Child Development Agency's (CDA) Jamaica Fit for Children 5K Run/Walk and Push Kart Derby at Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston.
The event was part of the Agency's 10th anniversary, being observed under the theme 'Protecting Children, Transforming Lives, Securing the Future', with participants in the Run/Walk segment drawn from schools and local clubs; and teams comprising children in state care drawn from the four CDA regional offices participated in the push kart segment.
Mrs. Rosalee Gage-Grey, CEO of the CDA, said the event is vital not only because it promotes a fitness lifestyle, but more important, is aimed at raising funds for the construction of Jamaica's first residential the therapeutic centre for children who have suffered trauma.
She added that the facility, which is to be constructed on the grounds of the Maxfield Park Children's Home in Kingston, is to assist children in state care who are emotionally traumatised by abuse, the levels of violence in the society and other issues.
Commonwealth 400m hurdles and Diamond League winner, Kaliese Spencer - who endorsed the event - said that it was worthwhile and exciting.
"It was a great event and I enjoyed every moment, especially the push kart derby competition and the drag racing. I was well entertained and I am definitely looking forward to next year's staging," Spencer said after Sunday's event.
Her MVP clubmate and Continental Cup gold medallist, Christine Day, who also endorsed the event, said it was a one-of-a-kind and thrilling experience.
"I totally enjoyed the push kart derby competition and drag racing demonstration, which blew me away. It was evident that the children were enjoying themselves competing against each other, the karts were well made and the cars were fantastic. So overall, it was a good event, being that it was specifically for children," observed Day.
Ryan Chambers was the champion male runner and second place went to Shavaun Stapleton. Karlene Blagrove was the champion female runner and Andrea Grant copped second place.
For the walk, Kenardo Phillips emerged as the male victor, while Kurt Dunn took second. The first and second place female winners were Norlene Cornwall and Paula Sinclair, respectively.
Ishawna Reid was the first place winner in the Under-12 category and Oneil Taylor placed second. For the 13-18 category in both the Walk/Run, Stapleton was the winner, while Chevonne Ebanks copped second place.
For the senior citizens category, male runner Clive Greyson finished first, while the female top spot went to Maxine Sinclair. Paula Cross ended as the champion female walker.
In addition, Camperdown High School were rewarded for being the largest team with 23 entrants in the run/walk.
For the push-kart derby, which saw eight teams participating, The Manning's School's boys' team in the southern region took the top spot in the 15-17 age category, while the western region came second.
West tops 12-14
In the 12-14 category, the western region's boys were winners, while boys from the south-east region pushed their way into second place.
Girls from the Homestead Place of Safety were the victors of the female category, with their southern region rivals finishing second.
The western region walked away with the prize for the best kart, while southern (Manning's boys) was given second place. Karts were judged on adherence to safety requirements; accuracy of build (according to specs); inclusion of recommended (optional) features; workmanship; aesthetics (presentation/ flair); as well as other added features.
Chambers said he was proud to participate, especially as the event supports children.
"This event is a clear indication that there is hope for children who are victims of abuse and that there are persons out there who care for them," said Chambers. "A lot of them are faced with different circumstances, which affect them emotionally, so we have to do what we can to assist. Overall, the event was worthwhile and enjoyable."