Rajae Lewis helping Clarendonians to 'Live Laugh Love'
Last August, Rajae Lewis, vice-president of the Longville Park Police Youth Club, officially formed his 13-member strong 'Live Laugh Love' movement, which targets unattached and at-risk youth.
"With the increase in crime and unemployment among the youth in the parish, that was the catalyst for focusing my attention on youth and community development," he said.
Lewis and his team assist unattached youths from vulnerable communities within Clarendon with job opportunities, homework support, mentorship, empowerment, and counselling, while using these same youth to also volunteer by giving back to the less fortunate food items, clothing, mentorship and empowerment.
"The Live Love Laugh members' ages range between 16 and 36 years, and comprise youth leaders such as Kerone Miller (Clarendon Most Influential Female Youth Leader 2017), Annicka Salmon-Crossly (Governor General Youth Ambassador) and students from different high schools in the parish," shared Lewis.
He said it is the norm for members to go into their pockets most times in order to donate school supplies to many of the needy students they come in contact with.
ATTENTION ON SENIORS
Since its formation last year, the team has been making its presence felt by visiting schools and even assisting adults in the communities where they do their outreach.
"Since the start of this year, we have been pushing a programme called 'Substance Ova Hype Tour', where we go into the schools and engage the youth," Lewis told The Gleaner.
This month, members of Live Laugh Love turned their attention to seniors in the community by doing chores around their homes and assisting them in any other areas where they needed help.
Lewis will be the first to tell you, though, that as fulfilling as it is in assisting others, he does have his down moments.
"When you see the need staring you in the face and you feel powerless to help the way you want to, it can get discouraging," he said.
With his main challenge being him having a very big heart but a small pocket, Lewis is thankful for the assistance of his family members and friends who sometimes step in to share in his dream of making a difference.
Lewis, a past student of Foga Road High School in the parish, said at age 16, he knew he wanted to get involved in volunteerism.
"I remember at that age I used to deliver mail in the community of Hopefield, where I lived at the time. When I got my monthly stipend, I used it to assist my classmates who were less fortunate than me, with taxi fare and lunch money," he recalled.
While reaching out to fellow youth to stay focused no matter the challenges, Lewis is also making the call for others to volunteer their time to make a difference in the lives of others.