The Child Development Agency (CDA) is taking Mission to Motivate across Jamaica. Launched last year as a part of the agency's 10th anniversary series of events, Mission to Motivate initiative aims to encourage children, specifically those in state care, to strive for excellence despite the odds they face. Throughout Child Month, the team will visit eight homes covering the South Eastern, North Eastern, Southern, and Western regions.
"Mission to Motivate serves to encourage children to aspire for greatness, despite the cards life has handed them, rise above their current situation by building resilience and, most especially, break the cycle of negative behaviours," Michelle McIntosh, CDA 10th Anniversary Planning Committee chair said.
To do this, the CDA is utilising past wards of the state, as well as university students, to bring the motivation message. These young adults, McIntosh explained, have been a part of the system and understand the realities of children in State care, have been assisted by the CDA, or are intrigued with the programme.
All, she noted, are model young people who have overcome adversity, received numerous awards and are successful in their various fields. This charge is led by 10th anniversary co-patrons Tanisha Esman-Ledgister and Tamian Beckford, along with Kingston and St Andrew Corporation youth mayor, Jahzeal Clarke.
Jahzeal Clarke has already been to three Mission to Motivate sessions, enjoying every bit.
Though he has never been in a home, he said he has benefitted from assistance from personnel at the CDA.
The 21-year-old student at the University of the West Indies, Mona, is the sixth of 10 children for his mother, who died when he was in grade four.
Since then, he said, he has been on his own, living at different places. Despite this, he has been the first of his siblings to graduate fifth form with nine CXC subjects, attend sixth form, and go on to university where he is a first-year political leadership and strategy management student.
"In visiting the homes, I have been touched by the fact, that as I shared my story, the children listened keenly, asking questions. They wanted to know how I overcame this, or how I managed to move on from that, or how does one to get the next stage, or requested actual examples for them to follow," Clarke said.