Gardens of Kingston: 'Back To' youth sets sight on medical career:
Meet aspiring medical doctor Channiel Shanley. The 18-year-old, who is a resident of the tough inner-city community of Majesty Gardens in Kingston, is determined to leave a positive imprint on those around him.
"I try to lead by example. I live in a community where violence is the norm, but I want to show my peers that life doesn't have to be this way. I have seen friends and even family members get entangled in the negativity that surrounds them," he said.
When THE STAR visited the Kingston 11 area more commonly known as 'Back To' last week, a string of bleached-face men were seen joking around under a shed. The way in which they reacted to Shanley as he walked by and offered greetings made it clear that he is no ordinary youth.
"See him there, him a one of many of the 'Back To' yute dem who a try make something good out of life. There are a number of them living here, but nuff a dem at work or school. But you see him, him is a good likkle yute," a woman said to the news team proudly.
Shanley is currently a customer service representative at Sutherland Global Services. This job is only temporary though, as Shanley sees himself as a doctor in the not-too-distant future. For now, he is seeking to save up enough money for his university tuition.
SITTING MORE SUBJECTS
"I only have three subjects now but I will be sitting a few more soon, after which I will officially begin studies to become a doctor. There are a lot of potential doctors, lawyers and other great professionals living here, but a lot of them just don't know it yet," Shanley said.
The youngster has lived all his life in this tough community, which appears to hardly reflect its name, Majesty Gardens. The sight of poverty is obvious in the old zinc fences, unpaved pathways and board dwellings at the lower section of the neighbourhood. Currently, several youth persons are benefiting from employment opportunities under a beautification project. Others earn a living from wiping windshields across the «orporate Area.
Like Shanley, there are some who are rising above poverty and are determined to turn their board houses into mansions. He said that his motivation comes from the people around him.
"Persons always encourage me to be the best I can be. Even if they are not living their dreams, they always tell me to go and get mine. A lot of times I will pass the yutes on the corner and they always push me, say they want to see me come out good," Shanley said.