Buju Banton Foundation motivates at-risk youth
“It was timely. The substance of it is what we need as we call for more successful males to motivate young men to become serious about education and their future,” Desmond Whitley, manager at Sunbeam Children’s Home in St Catherine, enthusiastically stated about a workshop hosted at the home for at-risk youths last week Monday, December 16, under the theme, ‘The Importance of Education, Character & Discipline for Future Success.’
With the assistance of the Buju Banton Foundation, motivational speakers Dr Kadamawe K’nife, UWI Mona lecturer in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, and Aubrey Stewart, chief security strategist at the Ministry of National Security, were recruited to speak.
“We are very thankful to the Buju Banton Foundation for the willingness demonstrated to support the wards,” Whitley said.
Rosemary Duncan, director at Buju Banton Foundation, said: “The foundation is committed to ensuring at-risk boys across Jamaica become meaningful contributors to society and thus has a lot of great works planned for successful fruition of that mission.”
Dr K’nife’s talk shone light on Jamaica as one of the most popular countries, owing to its creative industry from sports to music and provided strategies for success.
“No matter what you want to do, you have to educate yourself about it. Want to deejay? Then, learn to write notes. Buju Banton practises and writes for many hours daily. Not just two to four hours but several hours daily,” Dr K’nife said to the youths as he inquired about each young man’s interests.
He added: “The best footballer, Lionel Messi, plays ball for five minutes, each game. For the remaining 85 minutes he studies, thinks, strategises the game; football is more thinking than playing. It is not just control, pass and play. Thinking is very important in anything you are going to do. Whatever your career goals, you can learn about it right here on the computer.”
Meanwhile, Stewart, who hails from the inner-city community of Canterbury, Montego Bay, shared his moving personal testimony as an at-risk youth during the session hosted at the Possibility Programme Youth Hostel in Kingston, the following Thursday, December 19.
Delving into his early life, he spoke of dire financial constraints and how community members constantly said that he would be the next don. Stewart also disclosed that a lot of his childhood friends are in prison but that he defied all negativity to succeed, and education changed his destiny. He urged the wards to dismiss all negative people.
At the close of the workshop, Stewart urged participants to always be positive. Each was handed a pea/seed and a cup and was advised that they plant, water, and nurture it daily, just as they would their dreams.
Dancehall/reggae entertainer Buju Banton, as relayed by the foundation’s director, expressed the need for these workshops, especially in the homes for at-risk youths and in the schools.
“There are a lot of boys and young men in need of assistance and proper guidance; so instead of us watching and waiting on the State to neutralise them, I am urging everyone to do what we can, for those whom we can,” Banton said.