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State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, has underscored the importance of community service in the continued development of the country.

Addressing a community service conference on August 23 at the University of Technology’s Papine campus in St. Andrew, Mr. Crawford pointed out that enhancing the lives of others through service is a rewarding experience.

He noted, for example, that not only is it gratifying when, in giving service by teaching a group of youngsters, that they learn, “but they start to aspire, sometimes, to be like you. That influence causes them to have a new lease on life because they have a new level of exposure and socialisation".

Mr. Crawford said young adults, especially those at the university level, have a key role to play in the process, noting that by offering service to troubled communities, they can influence change in the mindsets of despondent individuals.  

He noted that when a tertiary level student can mentor a troubled teen “you don’t know how much you have changed his outlook, his motivation in life."

“So, don’t undervalue what you have achieved can mean to people, who have achieved nothing and have no example of achieving things,” he said.

Held under the theme: ‘Shaping our future, empowering communities, enriching our nation,’ the annual conference sought to sensitise new students about the value of community service, including the challenges, excitement, and rewards.

Among the objectives were: to motivate students to become change agents in developing a service-oriented/loving Jamaican society; create an awareness of the impact of service and volunteerism on the Jamaican society; and highlight the benefits, joys and learning opportunities of community service.

Vice President, Division of Development and Community Service, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, told the students that by volunteering their service, they will help to build communities.

“Your work and your understanding of the important role you are about to embark on to go into these communities and to provide service that will strengthen communities to do more, is critical to the development of the country,” she said.