Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
At the end of a rugged cul de sac that runs off Mountain View Avenue in eastern St Andrew, a handful of children from some of the most volatile communities in the area gathered yesterday for the last day of a special summer-camp programme.
Inside an abandoned building that was renovated by men from the community, the children, ages eight to 13 years old, playfully explored science, technology, maths and art, along with other 'life skills' training.
The camp, now in its fourth year, could impact more than 100 children when the second and final one is completed next week.
The camps are among a number of initiatives being undertaken by a group of current and former residents who are trying to redevelop the communities of Goodrich Lane, Back Bush, Jacques Road and sections of Vineyard Town.
Open for all
Duran Wright, who lives in Goodrich Lane and is one of the organisers, said the camp was initially opened to children from his community, but this year it has been opened to children from all the surrounding communities, including Jarrett Lane.
At the same time, he said the redevelopment plans have an entrepreneurial element that will target vulnerable young people across all communities.
"We are setting in place templates and programmes that we see will lead to further community development," Wright told The Gleaner yesterday.
Marvin Hall, founder of Halls of Learning - which has been providing robotics training for children in several inner-city communities - said he was impressed to see the number of men from the Mountain View area who were taking an interest in the camp.
"They are here helping to keep the order, keep the discipline and to provide support in terms of setting up the place," Hall said.
"That's something we didn't have in any other community," he added.
He said this was important, especially in cases where some of the children do not have a father figure or the family structure to support them.
"This kind of activity represents something positive in the community and helps to balance the negatives which sometimes outweigh what's happening in the community," Hall said.