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Olympic and World Championship 100 metres gold medallist, Shelly-Ann Fraser, is to hit the road with the Peace and Love in Society (PALS) initiative next month for its Peace Day campaign, after being named the Grace Goodwill Ambassador for Peace.
Grace Foods and Services has partnered with PALS, through its Grace Vienna Brand, to provide the organisation with the resources and marketing necessary to carry out a high-visibility, islandwide Peace Day campaign. This year’s campaign is being held under the theme ‘Be a Champion for Peace’.
Ms. Fraser’s participation will put a face and voice of encouragement to those battling negative attitudes to conflict resolution, given her background growing up in the violence-torn Waterhouse community. She plans to visit a PALS school accompanied by “Vinnie”, the Grace Vienna mascot, to surprise students and provide treats. Her image and voice are also being used in advertising campaigns to support the PALS initiative.
At the launch of Peace Day activities, at GraceKennedy, downtown Kingston, Tuesday (February 23), Ms. Fraser said she was excited about working with the project, having experienced, firsthand, the results of non-constructive methods of conflict resolution in her community while growing up.
“I know that I will play my role well, because I know what violence can do to children. And seeing that I am a star, as one might see it, I get to bring across my point much better to children. They will understand, because I was there, so it’s not as if I lived in Beverly Hills and (I am) trying to tell someone in Waterhouse don’t fight, don’t do this,” she said.
Ms. Fraser also encouraged everyone to respond to conflict by being calm, agreeing to work it out, listening to each other’s point of view and then solving the problem.
“The bigger person is the person that always walks away, no matter how it may seem,” she said, as she implored parents, especially, to try to acquire good conflict resolution skills and to teach these to their children.
Several schools representatives gave testimonials regarding the impact of PALS on their school population, among them third form student at Kingston College, Romario Ballentine, who said he has been changed by the programme.
“I’m a person I don’t like authority. I normally do things because they tell me not to do it. But, since the programme, they have shown me that that’s not the way and what I’m doing is wrong, that there is a better way, and so I just want to tell you thanks for all that you have done for us,” he said.
Brand Manager for Grace Vienna Sausages, Mr. David Reid, said that the sponsorship from Grace Foods and Services would cover the cost of Peace Day ribbons, advertising, production, new training materials for the school and the hosting of several school treats.
The company has also earmarked 25 cents from the sale of every can of Vienna sausages, for the next three months, for the PALS organisation.
PALS will host a Peace Day Concert on March 2, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Homestead Primary School, St. Catherine. Shelly-Ann Fraser’s participation will be a highlight of the event.
PALS is also set to launch its Grace Vienna PALS Champion of Peace Essay Competition on March 2.