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KINGSTON – Young Jamaicans have been urged to be respectful and maintain the peace, as they interact with colleagues attending the annual ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys ‘and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

The appeal came from the Director of Development, Planning and monitoring of the National Transformation Programme (NTP), Fabian Brown, while addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank session, Thursday morning March 24 in Kingston.

“The charge from the National Transformation Programme is for all students, all young people and all adults, who are so passionate about their schools, to ensure that you go out there and cheer and cheer hard, love and live love and be peaceful and respectful because, at the end of the day, we must recognize that the cord that binds us all is the fact that, out of many we are one people,” he said.

Mr. Brown also encouraged young people “to live and to showcase the Jamaican gene,” and to practically engage in the process of transformation.

Over the past two week, members of the Students For Transformation (SFT), youth arm of the NTP, have been engaging high school students during their Champs 2011 Peace Initiative under the theme, “Peace & Respect for All @ Champs & Always." The project is being funded by the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) and the Child Development Agency. Partnering with the NTP and the SFT are Miss Jamaica World 2010, Chantal Raymond and Kenroy “DJ Slims” Henriques.

Events Coordinator of the SFT, Whitney Givans, said the transformation team has so far participated in devotions at 10 high schools, where they carried peace messages of “peace, love, unity and respect for all during the time of Champs and after."

At these interactive sessions with the students, a motivational song produced for the project is usually performed by Kenroy “DJ Slims” Henriques from Seaview Gardens, while Miss Jamaica World delivers a motivational talk.

Miss Givans said STF has already visited Kingston College, Wolmer’s Boys, Calabar High, the Queen’s Schools, Holy Childhood High, Clan Carthy High, St. George’s High, St. Hugh’s High and Jamaica College. Next week, they will be at Mona High, Alpha Academy, Merl Grove High and Kingston College for a second time to visit with Grade 9 students.

On the first day of Champs, the SFT and their partners will participate in a march from the school gate of Kingston College to the National Stadium, where they will participate in the official parade with athletes around the track.

“Hopefully, we will have ‘DJ Slims’ performing as a part of the opening ceremony,” Miss Givans added.

National Coordinator and representative of the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) in Jamaica, Kerry Ann Lewis said the IIN was happy to participate in the project.

“We have been observing for quite some time the violent trends which seem to be associated with the Boys’ and Girls Champs and we have been quite concerned and wanting to make an impact and some form of intervention,” she said.

She said IIN was also exploring how to sustain this throughout the year, to keep the message going.

                                             

By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PR Officer