JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation supports sports for development programme in Franklyn Town
THE JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation has invested approximately $400,000 to the Franklyn Town Community Development Project (FTDCP). This initiative is designed to empower at-risk young men to make positive and healthy lifestyle choices, and develop life skills by creating socio-economic opportunities, reducing violence and crime, and promoting a sense of community. The year-long programme consists of a structured football programme, educational and personal development initiatives, and community engagement activities.
After facing two decades of setbacks due to violent flare-ups in the community and a lack of financial support, Andrew Geohagen, chairman of the FTDCP and a trained violence interrupter and dedicated advocate for peace, expressed heartfelt gratitude for the collaboration with the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.
“The support came at just the right time…and has helped to revive the sports programme and the community spirit, and we are optimistic that we will be able to sustain these wins. The foundation’s partnership is a testament to their commitment to community development and nation-building,” he said.
Geohagen highlighted achievements to date, emphasising the collaborative efforts with the police that resulted in significant reduction in shooting incidents. Additionally, the organised matches have united previously divided factions, fostering a palpable sense of community unity. He further pointed out the encouraging trend of increased youth involvement, with several Under-20 youth volunteering and inquiring about the programme and services offered. This positive momentum follows engaging community activities, including ‘corner’ league matches and a knockout competition honouring revered former footballers Sylvester “Balla” Thomas who hails from Franklyn Town, and Allan “Skill” Cole. United Travelers emerged as champions of both competitions.
No stranger to community-based programmes, having been a part of the Peace Management Initiative, Geohagen highlighted how the programme’s impact transcends the community level, touching the lives of approximately 250 young men involved. Paul Smith, a member of the York Street football team, lauded the programme, sharing, “I looked forward to the matches every Sunday even when I wasn’t playing. It was a vibe and really drew the community together…I [also] got a chance to see friends from areas I don’t go to anymore. I look forward to it next year.”
Smith’s volunteer work at the summer camp and participation in an advocacy workshop at UWI, Mona, also ignited his aspiration to become an advocate and positive role model for the youth in the community.
The holistic programme being led by FTCDP also includes skills training, employment creation and educational opportunities for the community’s unattached youth. Additionally, aspects of the programme will be geared towards peace building and conflict resolution; violence reduction and interruption; restorative justice; career and personal development; as well as financial literacy. Participants in the FTCDP have also been exposed to the foundation-led Conversations for Greatness transformational programme, which is designed to assist individuals to improve their interpersonal skills; boost self-awareness and esteem; and live a more values-based and purposeful life.
“We are delighted to support and collaborate with this impactful programme dedicated to empowering young men. This football league serves as a catalyst to unearth their greatness, providing opportunities, instilling hope, and transforming mindsets,” said Kim Mair, CEO of the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.
“Recognising the potential for meaningful change at the community level, we believe that such partnerships can create a positive ripple effect in Jamaica, contributing to the ongoing efforts to reduce crime and violence. This football league shines a spotlight on our young men, fostering a conducive environment for them to thrive.”