Residents of communities along Red Hills Road are being urged to come out on Saturday (March 3) to support the inaugural sports day organised by the Social Development Commission (SDC).
The event, slated for the Hughenden Community Centre located at 9A Jerome Avenue, involves the communities of 100 Lane, Park Lane, Donmair/Common, 85 Red Hills Road, 60 Whitehall Avenue, and Beverley Dale.
The day promises to be one of fun and excitement as participants engage in friendly competition in football, netball, basketball and athletics.
Activities get underway at 8:00 a.m. with a colourful parade of teams in their colours, bearing banners. The procession, from the Hillside Christian Church, 105K Red Hills Road, to the community centre, will be led by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) band. Trophies and medals will be presented to the winners and runners-up at the end of the day.
The sports day is part of a project dubbed: ‘Red Hills Road Comm-Unity Sports Initiative,’ which is aimed at fostering unity and peace among areas along Red Hills Road. It is being funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), and involves the Med-Haven Ministers Fraternal and the St. Andrew North Police Community Safety and Security Division.
SDC Community Development Officer, Ordean Keane, told JIS News that about 110 residents will take part in the sports day. She said that the SDC held two “successful run offs,” one in October and the other on February 25, in preparation for the big event on Saturday.
She informed that the participating teams, leaders of youth clubs, citizens associations, and unattached youth people, have been engaged in several planning meetings.
The sessions, she said, were rotated among the various districts, in order to diminish the “border line” and encourage the integration of residents. Some persons in the various communities, she said, have confessed that they have not crossed borders for more than 20 years.
The Red Hills Road Comm-Unity Sports Initiative also includes the hosting of various workshops aimed at creating positive behaviour change through conflict resolution, and improving parenting skills.
Ms. Keane told JIS News that a major objective of the project is to establish the Red Hills Road Community Development Committee (CDC) comprising representatives of the various areas, in order to ensure sustainability of the initiative and the gains made.
“At that level, persons will discuss their issues, the concerns relating to the areas in which they live and to see how they can come up with solutions for sustainable development,” she said.
Inspector of the St. Andrew North Police Division, Rupert Harper, told JIS that the residents are motivated and willing to participate in the initiative. He said that some persons have voiced their concern about its sustainability “since they have seen other projects start and vanish."
“But, this one is supported by the communities, backed by the church. I see schools coming on board, I see the SDC on board, and the business sector is coming on board, so I see this one going ahead,” he said.
Inspector Harper, who is also a musician, has composed a theme song for the project entitled: ‘Ja…Respect’, which will be played at the sports day.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO