Jamaica Broilers: Impacting the Lives of Young Men

Wednesday Social

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11 (ESV)

These three verses from Psalm 119 were what kept Jamaica Broilers Group President and CEO Christopher Levy focused on doing well, and encouraged him to leave a less than desirable life behind. The Christian businessman recited this passage of scripture to 10 young men from Innswood High School who joined him and three of his executives for lunch yesterday. The luncheon was the final event of the 2018 Applaud It! series.

In its fifth year Applaud It! is an annual “initiative that provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders to meet the next generation exactly where they are at and guide them through an awesome experience that exposes them to social and dining skills”.

Jamaica Broilers has deep roots within the community and has had a long-standing relationship with Innswood, so the choice of which school to invite for Applaud It! was easy. However, when the company understood that many of the young men at the high school do not matriculate, the decision was made to invite 10 young men between the ages of 12 and 15 to lunch and engender a different kind of mentorship.

In order to make the mentorship of the young men impactful, Levy was joined by male members of the Jamaica Broilers executive team. Around the table were — Colonel Jamie Ogilvie, assistant vice-president, Hi-Pro; Lennox Channer, vice-president of accounting, Jamaica Broilers Group; and Dave Fairman, vice-president, Best Dressed Chicken. Present, too, were Innswood High School music teacher Shenni Robinson and Applaud It! conceptualiser and senior associate editor, lifestyle and social content, Jamaica Observer Limited Novia McDonald-Whyte.

Over a mouth-watering four-course lunch prepared by the always creative Jacqui Tyson, the students shared their career aspirations, the subjects in which they perform best and the challenges they face as young men. Levy was stern yet comforting (after all, he is a father of three). He implored the young men to trod the path of academics and Christian virtue vs one of poor decisions, yielding to negative peer pressure and ruffianism. Levy had the group of future athletes, law enforcement and military officers, businessmen, doctors, lawyers and veterinarians repeat: “The decisions I make today will impact the rest of my life!”

The Jamaica Broilers executives shared inspiring personal anecdotes with the Innswood High School students. Colonel Ogilvie spoke about the time he led a team of Jamaica Defence Force officers to Buckingham Palace and for a job well done was invited to dinner by The Queen. Channer spoke about training for a marathon that saw him rising early to run 20 miles every day for 17 weeks and then having to endure completing the marathon with a foot injury. And Fairman spoke about assisting Jamaica Broilers expansion efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and realising just how blessed Jamaica is.

The young men were extremely appreciative of the kindness of Jamaica Broilers. After lunch, each student received a knapsack and a rather fancy water bottle. By the end of lunch, there was a slight shift in the young men. They seemed more buoyant and ready to heed the words of Levy and the Bible and make a change in their lives. We know that it will take more than one luncheon to change the lives of these men, however, as the praise and worship song says: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” It is the hope of Jamaica Broilers and Jamaica Observer that the young men will lead by example and pass on their Applaud It! experience to their peers.

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