STAR Salute : Antonio McKoy seeking to make the world a better place
Driven by a desire to help children, especially those from impoverished inner-city communities, Montego Bay-based businessman Antonio McKoy is now spearheading several bold initiatives to help needy youngsters reach their fullest potential.
In a mere three years, the 38-year-old contractor has established a youth charity foundation, a homework centre in Montego Bay, and was the architect of an anti-bullying campaign, which is now having an impact on several schools across the island.
"I do this because I like to help people, especially youngsters who really need help, to put their lives on track," McKoy told Western Star.
"I would often see kids leaving school and idly on the streets, so I decided to make a difference by setting up the centre (homework), where they can get help with their homework in various subject areas, free of cost."
From the outset, the homework centre was a hit, and as a consequence, several teachers and other volunteers have thrown their support behind the project, giving their services free of cost. From his interaction with the students, McKoy discovered that bullying was a major issue, and that gave him the drive to launch the anti-bullying campaign for schools.
To date, the anti-bullying campaign has won the hearts and support of several renowned Jamaicans, including reggae singer Peter Lloyd, politician Raymond Pryce, and 2016 Miss Jamaica Universe, Isabell Dalley, who have all become ambassadors for the campaign.
"Young people are getting the help they need, and they are appreciative of what we are doing," said McKoy.
"This is what is inspiring me to continue. Based on my experience so far, I can tell you that a lot of everyday people are out there doing great things to make this society a better place."
McKoy, a St Elizabeth native who has been living in St James for the past 12 years, believes anyone can make a difference in the life of a child who is in need.
"People should not just settle for living but should do something to inspire others," said McKoy.
"A child might need lunch money, or your neighbour's child might need help with homework ... There is always room to step forward and contribute positively ... That is how we are going to make a better Jamaica."
McKoy is currently producing a 45-minute video documentary based on his various programmes. He is hoping that it will serve to inspire others with the capacity to help to do so.