Students for Transformation (SFT), the youth arm of the National Transformation Programme (NTP), are appealing to young Jamaicans to maintain peace during the upcoming Boys and Girls Athletic Championships, slated for March 28 to 31 at the National Stadium in Kingston.
“We are all one Jamaican. Let it be one love, one heart and friendly rivalry. It is okay for you to go out and support your individual schools. But remember, do it and be conscious and cognizant of others. Just level the vibes,” President of the SFT, Howard Chamberlain, told JIS News in an interview.
The SFT and adult members of the NTP have partnered with several agencies, including the Inter-American Children’s Institute to launch CHAMPS Peace Initiative 2012 under the theme: ‘One Love, One Jamaica, Level the Vibes’.
Mr. Chamberlain said the campaign this year will target patrons in the stadium. On Saturday, March 31, he said Students for Transformation will be deployed inside the stadium to distribute wrist bands with peace messages and to encourage students “to level the vibes."
“We want to target inside the stadium. We realise that over the past years, the level of violence has really lessened as it relates to CHAMPS, but the indiscipline inside the stadium, that’s a problem,” he said, adding that some patrons usually display negative behaviour after the event.
In addition, he said peace messages, including the SFT's peace song, will be broadcast on the airwaves, as well as the social media and via town criers to sensitise students.
“We plan to aggressively campaign on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with a music video. We plan to go around to the schools, to have pep talk sessions with the athletes to encourage them to go out there and do their best,” he added.
Over the past four years, SFT members have engaged practical initiatives to encourage students to maintain the peace as they interact with students from other schools during the Championships.
Last year, the youth organisation, in partnership with the Inter-American Children’s Institute and the Child Development Agency visited 11 schools in Kingston with messages of Peace. Through music, motivational messages and “giveaways,” students were encouraged to “level the vibes” “Increase the Peace” and “Let peace begin with me”, in the run-up to the Championships.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO