Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
JERICHO, St Catherine:
KENNETH JOHNSON is only 12 years old, but he has already decided that he wants to contribute to the development of his community, Jericho, on the outskirts of Linstead, St Catherine. That is why last November when the Jericho Police Youth Club was re-established, he became an active member.
So it was quite gratifying for the Charlemont High School student when he was named the Best All-Rounder at the club's first-anniversary dinner and awards ceremony, held on Sunday at the Jericho Baptist Church.
"I feel very good about this award, and I really want to help to improve my community, and I am working to make it a better place," he told The Gleaner after he received his award from Woman Sergeant Natalie Palmer-Mair, island coordinator, Police Youth Clubs, Community Safety and Security Branch.
Johnson was one of 12 persons recognised for their contribution to the upliftment of the club.
Dr Beverley Johnson, retired principal, Jericho Primary School and part-time lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, in delivering the keynote address, urged the clubites to be guided by determination, dedication, discipline as they move to another level.
"Determination is an act of firmness and decisiveness. It's a madeup mind. Some people succeed because they are destined to succeed, but most of us succeed because we are determined to," Johnson told the young people.
She said dedication was akin to devotion and commitment and transformed a promise or dream into reality. Regarding discipline, Johnson said it was a quality which made talent become ability.
Jericho Police Youth Club is listed among the 33 active clubs in St Catherine. Corporal Garfield Wallace is the coordinator for St Catherine North.
"This club has been growing from strength to strength. We have a remarkable president, and he is instrumental in the development of the club. I see where young people's lives have been transformed, and the club will be one to reckon with. Much is to be expected from them as a club," Wallace told The Gleaner.
Palmer-Mair, who was recognised for behind-the-scenes support, was also full of praises for the one-year-old 75-member organisation.
"Based on observation and the reports I've got, I am feeling really, really proud of them, you know. Sometimes it's a teething process, and after a year, sometimes persons become despondent and they feel like, with the challenges, they are not going to make it, but this club has proven that with perseverance and dedication, they can overcome," Palmer-Mair told The Gleaner.
Public relations officer Myrthlyn Chambers, affectionately called Miss Winsome, the oldest clubite, was awarded for being "the backbone and mother" of the club. She attested to the club's positive impact on the young people in the community.
"This club has been making a big difference to the youths. They are more conscious of their behaviour, they take part in different activities, and some of them who never used to pay attention to their grooming now take pride in that," she told The Gleaner.
Over the last year, in addition to hosting a Mothers' Day function, the club has undertaken a number of activities, including the painting of the netball court at Jericho Primary School and the Neighbourhood Watch signs erected throughout the community.
"I want the clubites to attend different functions because some of them need more exposure. That's our short-term goal, and the long-term goal is to adopt the Jericho Basic and Primary schools," said president, Godfrey Marshall.