11-year-old starts charity
It is said that a child shall lead them, and 11-year-old Elijah Turner is doing just that by starting Jamaica's first wish granting charity for terminally ill children.
Young Elijah told THE STAR that he felt compelled to start the charity after watching a documentary about the American-based Make a Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to sick children. He realised Jamaica does not have an equivalent to that charity and he wanted to fill the gap.
"I wanted to start this charity because I've been seeing children that are terminally ill here in Jamaica and needing help. I felt that someone should help them, and that someone will be me," Elijah said.
The youngster, who was born in the United Kingdom and now resides in Jamaica, named the charity Bright Star Wishes. "I chose the name because the children that I'm going to be helping are bright stars. I see them as heroes because they fight a huge battle with their illnesses," he explained.
Elijah is a bright star himself, having sat the Grade Six Achievement Test at the Monsignor Colin Bryan Preparatory School in St Catherine and passed to attend Glenmuir High School in Clarendon.
One major step in launching the charity is getting it registered with the Department of Co-operatives and Friendly Societies, which costs $25,000. So far, the little Samaritan has raised more than half that amount through a Go Fund Me account named, 'Help us launch Bright Star Wishes'.
Elijah's mother, Cherie Turner, who has been assisting with organising the charity, told THE STAR she is extremely proud of her son and his initiative. "Proud is the first thing that comes to mind, but then I am a bit scared because I have no experience in starting a charity, but I encourage him and I want him to know that he can do anything he puts his mind to," she said.
The official launch of the charity will be on July 31 at the Tavern Community Centre in Papine, St Andrew. It will take the form of a family fun day, with entertainment for children and adults. Entry fee is $100 for children and $300 for adults.
Persons seeking to be involved with the charity can contact Cherie Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.