Homeless man creates career plan in quest for big dream
AT 17 YEARS OLD, while his counterparts were in high school or preparing to matriculate into tertiary studies, Jerome Samuels was bouncing between shop plazas, with cardboard boxes for a bed and a begging spirit to get by.
Six years later, he is hoping that all is not lost for him and his aspirations to become an accountant do not meet a fate similar to that which he experienced on the streets.
Originally from Kingston, Samuels said he ended up on the streets of May Pen, Clarendon; and Mandeville, Manchester, as a result of differences in beliefs between him and his family.
“My family rejected and turned me out and that is how I ended up on the street, begging for daily survival. While on the street I met a few persons who I asked to help me. They took me in, but all they did was used me. I was the little yard boy for them and they abused me verbally and physically,” Samuels lamented.
He said there is nothing worse than having no immediate alternative to begging and being treated as less than human for doing so.
“I was battering on the street. People cursed me, it was rough. I don’t know how I survived it to this day. From Kingston to Mandeville, to May Pen … homeless on the street, no eat fi days. I don’t know how me survive, but God made me survive.”
He added: “I felt like taking my life a number of times. Once I was in May Pen, I thought I was going to jump off into the bridge, but the only thing that kept me was that I wanted to be more.”
Two years ago, Samuels said he heard about the Candle in the Dark Empowerment Centre and homeless shelter in Mandeville but sought refuge there just two months ago.
“It has been good because it takes a burden off me. You know when you no longer have to sleep on the street. If it had not been for them, maybe I would have died,” he said.
The 23-year-old told The Gleaner that he received secondary education up to fourth form and has since written three-year plans that he is hoping will take him to his goals.
“I want to get some CSEC subjects, then complete a course at HEART and then maybe branch off into university. I know it is going to take some years for me to become an accountant, but I have to do it step by step, one year at a time to get there,” he noted.
Samuels’ intention is to complete nine CSEC subjects over three years, move on to completing a course in business administration at HEART Trust NSTA and then moving on to completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
The aspirant said he has always had a drive to do well, but his circumstances have now forced him to be even more persistent and focused on his dreams.
“I realise how hard life is and that has put a drive in me. It is not easy. I really don’t know how I am alive today but there must be a reason … I really need the help, to get a good education and a computer to complete the work. I am really in need. I really, really need it. I am hoping I can be recognised. I am really tired and stressed out. I am begging help from anywhere possible,” he pleaded, as he lost his fight to control the tears.
Chairman of Candle in the Dark, Wendy Freckleton, said Samuels has shown much promise and the centre is willing to work with him to help him reach his goals.
But at present the resources available can only do so much and no more. To assist Jerome Samuels, contact Candle in the Dark at 876-881-5968 or visit the facility at 10 Caledonia Road, Mandeville.