KINGSTON, Jamaica — Several teachers in the tough Jacques Road area are trying to break the back of the crime monster that has been taking the lives of many promising youngsters in the area.
Residents of Jacques Road, located off Mountain View Avenue in St Andrew, say for years crime has been the biggest inhibitor to community growth.
Frustrated by the recurring problem, where gang-on-gang or police-on-gang violence continues to wreak havoc, the trained teachers and residents have teamed up in a series of initiatives to curb the problem.
The first step: a summer school programme to engage the many children who would have otherwise been idle.
"A total of 116 children of various ages have benefited from this programme," said Francena Pryce, coordinator.
She believes that educating and getting the youth to use their time positively will be the surest way to steer them away from trouble.
"We are concerned about the crime and we are doing what we can to change all of that," said Pryce.
Pryce was quick to point out, however, that a lack of resources hampers the growth of the programme.
Evidence of this was seen on inspection of the house the teachers have transformed into a makeshift school.
The house, previously unoccupied, is badly in need of repair.
But despite the challenges, it's all systems go for the rest of the summer.
One teacher explained that parents in the community have been making small contributions of food items to help feed the children daily.
"Despite the setbacks, we still continue," said Pryce, adding that it was important that more programmes be developed to reach out to the youth, as there was a high level of illiteracy in the area.