Chad Morgan was fresh out of high school when he went to volunteer in a numeracy and literacy project at The Source in his community of Maverley, St Andrew. The Source, a JN Foundation project in tandem with partners, serves as a hub for young people in four communities across Jamaica, with Internet facilities a significant part of the pull.
Maverley is done along with the Jamaica Automobile Association; August Town with UWI; the St Ann Chamber of Commerce supports the Ocho Rios Source and the Treasure Beach Foundation is the partner for The Source in that St Elizabeth community.
Intent on doing voluntary work, Morgan said "I came to an interview and they offered me the job". 'The job' was as administrator of The Source and although he was surprised, Morgan said he was happy. "I just worked with the flow. I was just out of high school and not many people will hire someone straight out of high school," he said.
The first day, inviting people into The Source and showing them the computers at the facility "was fun". The then 17-year-old had his toughest days "when I had to deal with a lot of children, sometimes ill-mannered". Still, he said, "You have to keep your composure." There were those Morgan gave the silent treatment, waiting on them to provide the courtesy of a greeting which they overlooked. They learnt.
And he learnt too, as the stint as Source administrator "groomed me to be a better person relating to people from different backgrounds". Those backgrounds ranged from street boys to managers and business owners.
That apart, Morgan, who is now a full-time student at the University College of the Caribbean, said The Source was a critical meeting spot for the Maverley Police Youth Club, of which he is vice-president. There are 60 registered members, with 30 to 35 attending meetings regularly. Most are from Maverley, with some from Hughenden, Renfield, Duhaney Park and Portmore. The club was established a year after The Source was opened.
Morgan is currently doing a first degree in tourism and hospitality management and plans to do a PhD in forensic science outside Jamaica where "there are wider choices and opportunities". Now doing freelance bartending, he said "one of my main goals is to have my own hotel, so I need to know how the industry should operate".