The camaraderie among residents of August Town in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, means a lot especially for members of a voluntary group, which has been on a mission to transform the image of the community.
The group, August Town Community Club, headed by Marlon McFarlane, braved the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic on August 28 to host the third annual treat for children. The task was done in collaboration with another team – Rich Behaviour Entertainment.
The community’s children, predominantly accompanied by adults, did temperature checks and sanitization as they made their way into the outdoor venue to be treated.
“I think the treat has a major impact on the community in a lot of ways because it helps the kids and so on,” said one beneficiary, 14-year-old Requan Jonas who attends St. Catherine High School.
Another of them, Daniel McCubbin, who is enrolled at Dinthill Technical High, lauded organizers for still being mindful of the children. “It is very important because it is COVID time, and they didn’t have to keep the treat, but dem a keep it for the children to have fun and get bags for school.”
In addition to collecting 500 knapsack bags, the children partook of meals and refreshments, soaked up an entertainment package that featured area artistes, and frolicked in a bounce-about and trampoline.
The organizers also gave them five tablets, note pads, ear pads and four scooters, as well as $30,000 to help cover their school expenses.
Their minds were also targeted as one resident, Aleque Ellis, delivered a motivational speech, imploring residents to remain focused and work to achieve their goals despite the stigma attached to their communities.
“As a youth who is on my way to greatness, I want everybody here to join me as well because where wi come from don’t define us,” he told persons in earshot. “We have little ones who will look up to us and wi have to set example for them.”
Flavia Brown, who accompanied her child to the treat, was impressed. “It’s a wonderful feeling and there is beautiful sunshine also. It’s lovely to see the children out and their parents out with them,” she told The Beacon.
Members of the August Town Community Club who live in Jamaica and abroad are happy to have made a positive impact.
Their president, McFarlane, commented: “This event is really important… We try to give back to the kids and show them some love because sometimes they are at home and they are not getting the love that they want there. Even though it is COVID time, we try to follow all the protocols and just give back to the kids because they are the future.”
The president’s common-law-wife, Rakevia Shropshire, who is visiting from the United States, is proud to have helped to make the event a success. “We are trying to do this every year and make it bigger and better every year,” she said.
Her friend, Toshua Young, extended her time on the island to give a helping hand. “It is always important for me to help out because it is my friend’s community, and I wanted to help give back to kids that are less fortunate,” she commented.
Some of the other people who made a major contribution to the treat or have been a driving force behind the August Town Community Club include: Kedeen Wray, Kerresha McLeish, Romar Campbell, Shanna Lee, Jevaughn Ellington, Abegaile Frazer, Kenroy Chambers, and Petes Hare.
Hare explained that, in 2016, a group of young people joined forces and started the August Town Community Club in their thrust to improve the image of their community, which, according to them, is sometimes wrongly stigmatized.
“August Town is a community that’s known for bad things and so a group of us decided that we are going to come together and show people that this community is more than what they see,” Hare said.
She noted that a lot of successful and law-abiding citizens live in the area.
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