Wed | May 24, 2017

Mt. Salem poised to cast a ‘spell’ on violence

Published:Thursday | May 18, 2017 | 5:00 AMOkoye Henry

WESTERN BUREAU:

In a bold bid to create a platform to restore peace to several volatile sections of the Mt Salem community in St James, two community-based groups have come together and developed a novel approach to engage the young people in meaningful activities.

The Mandingo Youth Club and the Women of Destiny Organization, which are both seeking to steer young people away from crime and violence with educational programmes, have developed a spelling competition, which they hope to roll out shortly.

The upcoming inaugural Mt Salem Spell Off Competition, which is geared at students in the seven to 11 age group, is seeking to both empower youngsters as well as develop platforms for future interaction.

"Since a sport is not working as well as we had expected, we have decided to use education as an intervention programme for empowerment," said Floyd Foster, who heads the Mandingo Youth Club.

EACH STREET REPRESENTED

"The competition will have one child between age seven and 11 from each of the community's 12 streets or lanes competing. Parents as well as residents of their respective streets will be empowered to get that child ready to compete," added Fisher.

The winner will be awarded a book voucher valued at $10,000 and a trophy. The runner-up will receive a $7,000 book voucher and a trophy. The Social Development Commission is on board with the project and will be sponsoring certificates and other prizes.

"It's going to be a great event because for too long, we did football and it caused a lot of problems. The same boys who are in the violence are the ones playing the matches, or they are on the corner ready to start fights," explained Foster.

"So we believe it best to refocus on education, the children, and empowerment. We hope this will also empower other communities to do something similar. In the end, we could then have a competition where the winners of each community compete against each other."

The competition is set for June 10 at the Mt Salem Primary School.