Administrative Assistant at the Clarendon Branch of the National Youth Service (NYS), Melissa Morris, was awarded first place in the NYS Essay Competition which was held under the theme 'Youth on a Mission'.
The competition was launched in November 2012 as part of Youth Month activities, and was geared towards unearthing the creative writing capabilities of Administrative Assistants in the NYS parish offices island wide.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News on Friday, December 21, following an awards ceremony at the NYS headquarters, an elated Miss Morris, said her essay focused on the present and future plans for her life.
"I had a rough time starting it, but once I started, I put my heart into it. I basically focused on where I have been and then I ventured out to where I want to be and what I want to do for my community and my fellow youths," she said.
Miss Morris, who is from Rocky Point, Clarendon, explained that she wanted to put to rest the notion that "nothing good" could come from her community.
"This is just one step closer to my future and one step closer to what I want to accomplish. I want to become an entrepreneur and I want to help other persons. Persons look up to me in my community so this is something else for them to follow and come out and do even better than what I am doing now," she added.
Come 2013, Ms Morris aims to begin her studies at the University of Technology in the area of Business Administration. She is currently enrolled in the Business Administration Programme at the NYS, which she will complete in March 2013.
Other awardees were Michaela Ashley, from Portland, who placed third, and Chad Johnson from Manchester, who placed second.
For his part, Acting Executive Director at the NYS, Richard Depass, said the agency will continue to empower young people by instituting various initiatives through volunteerism and apprenticeship.
"This is to aid the young individuals in Jamaica in becoming better citizens," Mr. Depass said.
He stated that it was the aim of the NYS to implement similar initiatives to the essay competition, as it seeks to build Jamaica.
The National Youth Service aims to equip youths with the necessary life coping skills to foster their personal and career development as well as enhance their contribution to community and national development. The organisation has been targeting unattached youths (17-24 years), through personal development, volunteerism and apprenticeship.