Feature
Curator, Global Shapers Kingston Hub, Stephanie Hazle (right), speaks with male mentors for the MENd initiative, Timar Jackson (left) and Julian Morrison, during the one-on-one mentorship sessions on Saturday (December 14), at the University of Technology (UTech).
Photo: Dave Reid

Story Highlights

  • Unlike many outreach groups that focus primarily on giving tangible gifts to those in need this festive season, one group – Global Shapers Kingston Hub – chose to mentor underserved boys in the Corporate Area.
  • This decision is based on their belief that “giving of time” and a “listening ear” are what many poverty-stricken and at-risk youth need.
  • In keeping with this, the group hosted a one-on-one MENd mentorship session with boys from Haile Selassie, Camperdown, Vauxhall and Clan Carthy High Schools at the University of Technology, on Saturday (December 14).

Unlike many outreach groups that focus primarily on giving tangible gifts to those in need this festive season, one group – Global Shapers Kingston Hub – chose to mentor underserved boys in the Corporate Area.

This decision is based on their belief that “giving of time” and a “listening ear” are what many poverty-stricken and at-risk youth need.

In keeping with this, the group hosted a one-on-one MENd mentorship session with boys from Haile Selassie, Camperdown, Vauxhall and Clan Carthy High Schools at the University of Technology, on Saturday (December 14).

“We decided that having this event at this time of the year was beneficial for more than one reason. It allowed us to capture our audience for a final time of the year, during a time that would not interfere with school, as well as it is a wonderful opportunity to extend ourselves and serve our youth during the festive season,” Curator, Global Shapers Kingston Hub, Stephanie Hazle, told JIS News in an interview.

“Our aim is to build sustainable relationships with the young men and to set a standard of leadership that is necessary all year round,” she added.

MENd, she said, is a male mentorship initiative, conceptualised by the Global Shapers Kingston Hub and was launched in April 2019, with one-on-one sessions taking place each quarter.

The purpose is to provide a platform whereby promising inner-city youth have the opportunity to have a man-to-man conversation with young professionals, corporate leaders, government officials and popular artistes who are positive male role models.

Ms. Hazle said members of the Global Shapers Kingston Hub have always focused on youth development, through mentorship, as a way of addressing the dire needs of underserved communities in Jamaica.

“We decided to zone in specifically on male youth, because we see where fatherlessness has negatively affected young people, especially young men who are left without positive male influences for them to emulate and learn healthy behaviours from. We believe that, through our network comprising of our hub members (junior mentors), and prominent men in our society to whom we have access (senior mentors), we are able to create a positive impact and inspire young men to be the best versions of themselves,” she told JIS News.

Project Sponsor, MENd, Timar Jackson, who came up with the concept and pitched it to the Global Shapers Kingston Hub team, said he thought of this initiative because of the hundreds of boys living in Jamaica, who are in need of mentors.

Project Sponsor, MENd, Timar Jackson (centre), mentoring two boys during a mentorship session at the University of Technology on Saturday (December 14), hosted by Global Shapers Kingston Hub,.

 

“I decided to pitch this to Global Shapers because we’ve seen the calls; whether it is in the newspapers and on the television, we see the reality that Jamaicans face. Our men in Jamaica need mentorship, our young men especially,” Mr. Jackson told JIS News.

“When you look at the statistics, young men between the ages of 15 and 34 years, they are the ones who are mostly committing the crimes; they’re the ones who are most affected by violent crimes [and] they’re the ones who are mostly imprisoned. Jamaica has a big problem in terms of crime and violence… [and] this is a timely project, as we facilitate them having conversations about issues that we as men face in the Jamaican society,” he added.

Mentor, Julian Morrison, said he chose to be a part of this initiative because it is a good way to reach boys who are in need of role models.

“The important thing to me from this project is the fact that we are creating an impact. A lot of our issues in society have to do with the lack of attention that young men get, and we have taken the initiative to help out in whatever way we can, by addressing some of these issues,” he said.

“We help them to discover some of their talents, help them to discover what it is that they want to achieve in life and to give them examples of what success can look like for them, and how they can achieve these things,” he added.

Ms. Hazle also noted that this MENd project falls within the impact scope of the wider Global Shapers community, which comprises more than 400 Hubs that are guided by the three impact areas – Climate and the Environment; Education and Employment; and Equity and Inclusion.

“Our projects this year, including MENd, have tended towards a mixture of the two latter impact areas, and we seek to do this primarily through driving specific conversations and influencing decisions on a national and regional scale,” Ms. Hazle said.

In addition to these mentorship sessions, she said the group has done other partnerships throughout the year to reach others in need.

“This year, we were a partner of the Social Enterprise in Secondary Schools Expo hosted by the British Council, as well as participating in several events in Youth Month-led initiatives with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. We also hosted the premier regional ‘Caribbean Connection’ which brought members from neighboring hubs from the United States and the Caribbean to build on initiatives within the region,” she said.

For 2020, the Global Shapers Kingston Hub will continue its focus on positively impacting male youth through MENd and build out a programme focused on educating youth on Climate Action and Resilience within Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

They will also be partnering with environment clubs within secondary schools and expanding their reach, to not only males but females as well.