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Calvin A Hunter Jr — On an Optimist's mission

Sunday, October 01, 2017

“If you by some miracle would get me out of this, I would no longer be an ordinary boy, but would excel in everything I do and do it to the greater glory of your name.” This was the prayer of Calvin A Hunter Jr one night when a man held a gun to his head and threatened to take his life.

He was only 12 years old then and recalled the experience that changed his life forever.

This was a part of growing up in a tenement yard in the inner-city community of Allman Town.

Hunter's living conditions exposed him to violence at a very young age. “I grew up in a yard where the landlord would 'cuss out' one of the six families monthly when they were struggling to make ends meet,” he recounted.

Like many of the boys in Allman Town, Hunter should have been a statistic. “Where I come from many of the boys ended up uneducated, in and out of jail as teenagers for drugs, guns and violent acts, or lying six feet under by the time they reached their early 20s.” However, he was determined to escape the clutches of poverty.

His circumstances and surroundings did not deter him. Hunter excelled both in his academics and as a football player at St George's College. Among the highlights was being called up for Jamaica's national youth football team, though the journey has not been without potholes and detours.

Today, Hunter holds several degrees and certificates, including a Master in Business Administration with distinction from Nova Southeastern University. He is a rising star in the financial sector and serves as a senior consultant at Crowe Horwath Jamaica, a member of Crowe Horwath International, currently the eighth largest audit and accounting firm in the world.

He has undertaken a range of projects which include providing financial services (including underwriting and structuring), sales management, marketing research and support, as well as organising training and delivering workshops on varying topics. His résumé includes extensive supervisory and managerial experience at National Commercial Bank and First Global Bank, respectively.

He is married to Debbie, who is also from Allman Town, and is the father of two beautiful daughters, Callie-Ann and Debbie-Ann.

He has never failed to give back and now embarks on a new frontier as he takes office as the Optimist International Caribbean District (OICD) governor for the year 2017/18. This after being a member of the Optimist Club of St Matthew's Kingston, having been distinguished charter president in 2005, and then double distinguished president of the Optimist Club of St Matthew's Kingston in 2014/15 and 2015/16. In fact, under his leadership in 2014/15 the club was recognised by the Optimist International Caribbean District as the most outstanding club for its work in the Allman Town community.

This man of many accomplishments continues to serve the tough Allman Town community with the aim of being a role model for the boys and girls of Allman Town, to aid them in realising their full potential.

As the district governor Hunter will preside over 65 Optimist clubs in the English-speaking Caribbean, including Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands.

The OICD will for 2017/18 observe its year of celebration under the theme 'Optimists Clubs… Saving Children'.

He encourages Optimists to initiate an 'Adopt an Angel' to provide a haven for children through donation of time, finances and other resources.

The OICD governor will also be initiating an anti-bullying human rights programme among young people, aimed at curtailing the spread of violence among youth in schools and their communities.

Hunter encourages everyone to get involved in youth development. In speaking to Career and Education he said, “The youth are our future and they need our guidance and mentorship. Our Optimist clubs' doors are always opened and we welcome everyone who wants to get involved…Optimist Clubs…The place for Family, Togetherness and Love!”

The first Optimist club formed in the Caribbean was the Optimist Club of Kingston in 1980.

— Z H