ST ANN’S BAY, St Ann — Reigning festival queen Kemesha Kelly has a burning desire: to empower unattached youth and help them achieve their full potential.
That’s why she is partnering with a number of agencies here to implement an educational and training programme for them.
“I believe in teaching people how to fish rather than just giving a person a fish. When you do that they won’t be comfortable for one day, but for the rest of their life,” the 22-year-old Kelly, who also holds the festival queen title for St Ann, told Jamaica Observer North East.
Kelly is the youth empowerment officer for St Ann, and in that capacity she has crossed paths with a number of unattached youth.
“Many of these youth are full of potential. Some of them dropped out of high school; they don’t have a skill, they have no formal training and some of them are outside the formal education (system),” Kelly said.
The festival queen said she has already broached the subject with HEART Trust/NTA, the National Centre for Youth Development and the National Council on Drug Abuse with a view to setting up programmes to target St Ann’s unattached youth.
She also has plans to approach officers of the Ministry of Education in St Ann as well as the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning to collaborate with her on the project.
The programme, Kelly explained, will target both males and females, and should get off the ground by September. It will provide training and certification in a number of skill areas.
Acknowledging that many youngsters in her target group may not be academically inclined, Kelly said a number of them are gifted in a number of other areas including music, dance and drama, which is the reason she plans to add an arts component to the programme.
She told the Observer North East that she will also be calling on the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission and other entities or individuals involved in the performing arts for assistance.
Kelly spoke of a friend of hers, Chantell Marsh, who she described as a very bright girl whose passion was in art and who she said is today a very successful webpage designer and graphic artist.
“I hope to bring her in, too, to help these youth,” she said. “In this day and age we have to equip our youth, and if we are to reach the goals set out under Vision 2030 then we have to equip them with the necessary skills and help them educationally,” she added.
Kelly said the training programme will run over a sixmonth period, and would continue if necessary and she anticipates that the St Ann Parish Council which owns the building that housed the Marcus Garvey Skill Training Centre, will allow her to use the facility to run the programme.
The 2012 Festival Queen said she also wants to include units which will address behavioural issues, substance abuse, low self-esteem and deportment.
“The issue of self-esteem and general deportment, especially that of our young ladies … Some ladies I see the word I have to use to describe them is rough,” Kelly said.
“Every young person has the potential, sometimes they just need people to guide them,” she said.
The highly focused, confident and assertive Kelly, hails from Seville Heights in the parish.