Richard Delapenha’s service especially to the youths of Manchester has earned him the prestige of being recognized as a Governor General’s Achievement Awardee for his parish.
The communications consultant, who hails from Caledonia Road in Mandeville, Manchester, was awarded in the category that highlights persons more than 35 years old who actively contribute towards nation building.
He, among other things, teach community members how to craft successful resumes and job letters as well as how to succeed at job interviews.
He created football competitions and cricket tournaments to help keep young people occupied and to bring community members together.
Delapenha also has been operating a care package programme for the elderly and needy residents of his community for the past six years.
In addition, he has been providing needy students with tablets, text books, uniforms and grants to attend school.
Outside his native Manchester, Delapenha dedicated his service to feeding the homeless while he served as president of the CVM Television Sports Club.
To fund his philanthropic initiatives, the 39-year-old hosts fundraisers and partners with local organizations and other sponsors.
He told The Beacon that his community service is motivated mainly by a life-changing experience he had while in final year at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Manchester.
He was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and could not afford to pay his tuition fee. That could have resulted in him being barred from sitting his exams.
“I was very distraught and depressed,” Delapenha recalled. His situation changed when he was surprised with a grant to offset his tuition a few weeks before exams were scheduled to be held.
“I didn’t even apply for the grant, but I got it,” he said. “For me, it was a defining moment. I took that as a starting point where I said, ‘As of now I am going to see how best I can help someone in a similar situation’.”
Delapenha is humbled that his work so far has been acknowledged on a distinguished platform like the governor general’s.
“It is a humbling feeling just to know that your work is recognized,” he reasoned. “It brings attention to some of the work I’ve been doing which will make it easier to get assistance on behalf of other persons.”
Delapenha grew up at Caledonia Road in Mandeville, with his late father and his mother Maple Delapenha who was a florist.
His father, Patrick Delapenha, was a handyman who repaired stoves in and around the community.
During his summer holidays as a child, Delapenha worked on stoves with his father. He was able to earn an income to purchase school supplies, thereby easing the financial burden his parents would have had to shoulder.
The younger Delapenha attended Mount St. Joseph Preparatory School and Manchester High before he matriculated to NCU.
He is now an established communications practitioner who also holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Policy and Technology Management, which he acquired at the University of the West Indies.
By Jamar Grant, Jamaica Beacon Journalist
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