A gift to the blind for good service

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaopbserver.com

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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ONE young man is now on a quest to reward the Jamaica Society for the Blind (JSB) after observing the loving and kind way in which his cousin was treated by staff members when he went blind.

His cousin, who is from The Bahamas, went to the facility to learn how to function in society with his sudden disability.

Danzell Knight, 17, was touched upon observing the professional care given to his cousin and decided then and there that he had to reward the kindness meted out.

“What really inspired me, honestly, is my parents, in the sense that I was raised in a household by my parents where family matters. You look out for family in a sense... so when I see someone go out of their way... my cousin didn't pay anything to come here and he was treated the way he was treated. He lives in The Bahamas and he came here for help. So when I see him come here and free of cost he is almost like accepted in a different family and everyone here is one big family and how they all treated each other my first instinct is wow. I view this place as sort of family in a sense like how you would want to help family,” Knight told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

The American International School of Kingston student also told the Sunday Observer that he is working on an assignment which is a part of an international bachelor's programme he is pursuing and so he thought it would be fitting to include the institution in his project.

“He came here from Bahamas, came here to the Jamaica Society for the Blind for six weeks, and in those six weeks I was here with him at the same time, not during the day or anything, but after school to pick him up and I would be able to see how they treat him, how everything goes about and I realise that wow, this is actually a great institution and it was the motivation for my project. But, at the same time, it was more than just my project. It was trying to give back, seeing what they did for my cousin. I have realised that the people here, they really deserve something and as a non-profit organisation it is the least that I could do in my action giving back to the community,” Knight told the Sunday Observer, adding that it's not just a project but something he's anticipating next year.

Knight, who is also the junior skeet champion, is expecting at least 100 shooters to participate in the Skeet tournament. He said that all proceeds from today's fund-raising event — which will be raised through registration, sponsors and pledges — will be donated to the JSB.

“There is an entrance fee, so normally the Skeet Club has a registration fee of a thousand dollars for the male shooters and then for the juniors under 17 they will shoot for free, shots not included. The female shooters are also free but they would have to purchase their ammunition. In this case I am raising the price to $2,000 but on the flyer it said in bracket that $1,000 goes toward the charity or the fund-raising and then the female shooters and the junior shooters it's optional to pay $1,000. You don't have to pay it, but if you want to you can pay the $1,000 as a registration fee and that will also going to the fund-raising.”

Even though registration closed off Thursday evening to prepare for the tournament, Knight is hoping that more people will come on board and support the initiative whichever way they can.

“I hope to get all the support that I need, in terms of financial through sponsorships, donations, anything because I haven't gotten a financial statement as to how much the bathrooms will be yet and, at the same time, it is not my judgment. It is what the society wants, but I just want people to be aware of the community at the same time through my actions and to live more beyond their personal life and realise the community is one big thing that you have to help at the same time, because you live in this community and there is people doing stuff for the community so you should also take part in the action rather than to sit back,” Knight said.

“Any donation, anything is appreciated, because if a man has $1 million and he is willing to take out that $1 million and give, I am grateful, just like how if a man has $300 and is willing to give ... even $5 I am grateful for,” Knight reasoned

JSB Executive Director Conrad Harris told the Sunday Observer that the institution, which focuses on providing individuals with the neccessary skills to adjust to their blindness and to become independent, also tries to prevent blindness in Jamaica.

Harris said Knight's initiative was heart-warming.

“We have a lot to say about young people and many of them are not nice. But, for me, it's wonderful to have somebody like him to take an interest ...really executing in this manner and I am extremely proud to see it happen. As he indicated, he saw what we did and was moved by it. He just didn't let it pass, he felt the need to do something about it,” Harris said, adding that many other families throughout Jamaica have also benefitted from the 64-year-old institution.

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