Flankers students look to change community's image

August 10, 2016
Young Joshua Cooker is assisted by Corporal Steadman Barker and FLOW's Courtney Bell to enter the bounce-a-bout provided at the FLOW Back to School Treat held in Flankers.St. James on Sunday, August 7.
Kira Pinnock and Tamique Timberlake examine the contents of the school bag presented to them by FLOW.
FLOW's Danielle Savory interacts with Renaldo Hendricks who was awarded a grant based on his performance in GSAT. Henricks attends extra classes at the Flankers Resource Centre.

Very often when the name Flankers is mentioned in the media it is often for the wrong reasons. On too many occasions, the words crime, violence and mayhem appear to be inextricably linked to this inner-city community, which is located in Montego Bay, St James.

However, the Flankers' Resource Centre is determined to change the narrative about the community.

"There's a lot of good going on Flankers. As a matter of fact, there're more people on the good side than the bad but the media doesn't highlight it," Alecia Spence, facilitator for the Flankers' Resource Centre, told THE STAR.

On Sunday, the community had on display some of its youngest and brightest. Then, telecommunications firm FLOW joined by members of the Police Community Safety & Security Branch (CSSB) distributed school supplies and recognised five GSAT awardees with grants of $10,000 each at a function at the Flanker Peace and Justice Centre.

Five top-performing students were selected for cash grants. They are Renaldo Hendricks, Aryton McNaughton and Jamar Johnson, who will be attending Cornwall College, as well as Mathew Gilpin, who is headed for William Knibb High School, and Rosh-Zoe Morrison who passed for Herbert Morrison Technical High School.

All five students took extra GSAT classes at the centre, and were specially recognised for their achievements by FLOW.

Hendricks' mom, Kenila Green, told THE STAR that she feels on top of the world after witnessing her son's accomplishment.

"Renaldo passed for Cornwall College and he got an overall average of 88.9 per cent. He was also named top performer in Social Studies ... He got 98 per cent, Green said.


Extra classes


She described her son as a very active person who is involved in cricket, football and playing drums.

Green said she takes her son to and from school and ensures that his schoolwork is done.

"I am strict when it comes to his school work. I follow him to and from school, ensures he attends his extra classes, study, and completes all his assignments" Green said.

Danielle Savory, FLOW's public relations officer, said the stop in Flankers is just one in a series that company that she represents intend to make during this back-to-school period.

"This is the start of our countdown to "Skool Aid" and we wanted to take well-needed assistance directly into the communities and to students who otherwise would have great difficulties securing the necessary items they need to return to school in September," Davory said.

"We started in Flanker because we are aware of the many social and other issues facing this community and so, along with the police, we aimed to bring a sense of hope and of course empathy to residents," she explained.

For Spence there is no doubt that the community will rise for the dark clouds hovering above it.

"I would love for us to produce the island's best GSAT performer one day; showing Jamaica that our community has quality," she said.

Constable Christopher Charley, who represented the CSSB Unit, lauded the move by the corporate giant to give back.

"We are happy to have FLOW on board to help us in this regard, especially in an area where community tensions can put a strain on the relationship with our officers. This provides an opportunity for mutual understanding to be achieved," he said.

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