Alton Reid, 28, is bent on making a positive difference in his rural community of Lluidas Vale, located in St. Catherine North West.
He is working mainly through the Al Empowerment Movement, which he started in April of this year and intends to formally register as a foundation.
“I started Al Empowerment Movement as a means of engaging young people and providing mentorship and guidance for them,” Reid explained.
“We realized that it is because of a lack of leadership and mentorship why certain things are happening – why the crime rate is so high; and why you have such high drop-out level among young men in high schools.”
Reid already started to tackle the maladies in his creative way.
He hosted an essay competition during the summer holidays, targeting Lluidas Vale students at the primary and high school levels.
The participants were required to either promote the Lluidas Vale Division as a cultural heritage site, or to highlight the developments they would like to see in their community.
“I want the young people of the community to have a voice at the table as it relates to the development of the area and the decisions that are being taken,” Reid said, adding: “The young people of the Lluidas Vale Division; they are being left out of the picture for far too long.”
Reid promised that the proposals made in the essays will be communicated to the candidates vying to become Councillor in the Lluidas Vale Division, and to Member of Parliament Hugh Graham.
The winners of the essay competition are:
- Shadion Douglas, who attends McGrath High School, and is from a section of Lluidas Vale known as India. She received a Chromebook and a school bag with supplies for being the first-place winner.
- Two sisters from Providence district in the community tied for second place. They are Sheneil Walker who attends St. Catherine High School, and Sashoya Walker who is enrolled at St. Jago High. They each received a smartphone and a school bag with supplies.
- The third-place winner, Tyrese Watson, who attends Kellits High School, received a school bag with school supplies.
Reid said the competition initially targeted males, but was expanded to facilitate females. He added that the prizes were sponsored by Latonya Brown, Councillor candidate Moneque Brown and the Morgan Shortridge Foundation.
Reid noted that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) affected the competition, but more outreach programmes are in the offing. They include the Al Empowerment Scholarship.
“I am purposing that I will make a huge impact,” the young philanthropist declared.
He is a volunteer at Jamaica Youth For Christ, and is employed as Executive Secretary at Ardenne High School. Reid is also a former Head Boy at Enid Bennett High School, formerly Bog Walk High.
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