Trench Town youth lacing up for big goals
Community group hopes to open doors with football
On Saturday, while many Jamaicans were taking things easy, relaxing and entertaining friends and relatives for the first day of the new year, over in Trench Town, preparations were under way for the semi-finals and finals of the Dream League Football Competition at the Vin Lawrence Park in the community.
Spearheading the initiative was Jermaine ‘JJ’ James, a footballer who excelled in the local Premier League and who is excited about giving the youngsters in his home town the opportunity to prepare themselves to take on the challenges they will likely encounter by the time they enter the world of work.
As residents of an inner-city community, which has suffered from a lack of infrastructural development and which is beset by stigma, their address makes it hard for the youth to successfully land jobs, even with the requisite academic qualifications and social skills.
Now James, with assistance from some Good Samaritans, is looking to help the boys in the area to make the necessary transition even beyond the shores of Jamaica.
He is seeking to carry on the mission of his father – popularly known as ‘Massive Dread’, who died 26 years ago – to uplift and encourage the youngsters of the area.
“Me have to pick up where him leave off and where him left off was mostly positiveness and making sure that we do all can to keep the peace. So whether is through football, fun, laughter, party, anything that we need to do to keep the community joy, a me that,” James said recently as he spoke with The Gleaner at a recently constructed shop, which will form the base of the operations of the Trench Town Impact Group.
“So this new venture now, Trench Town Impact Group, them come to me. A them find me, and once them tell me what them about and me ready,” adding that he is working with the group to break the cycle of violence in the area.
Located beside the Vin Lawrence Park – which in recent years got a facelift and was fenced and equipped with underground water sprinklers – big plans are in place for the building, which further construction will see it eventually outfitted with a gazebo, dining area and an entertainment area, where youngsters can engage in watching football highlights of games and players.
The Trench Town Impact Group will also be finding ways to gainfully occupy the children after school during the week.
“Once them leave school, whether online or physical, we have a programme with the library where we a go give them like two, three hours of basic maths, English and some other subjects and then afterwards, we engage them in football,” James explained.
Thereafter, they will be served a warm meal and allowed to watch some football games while debating strategies before going home.
Love of football is clearly the main enticement in all of this, with the recent exploits of national forward Shamar Nicholson, who also represented Boys’ Town and is having an excellent season with Belgian club Sporting Charleroi, he is an inspiration to all the youth in the area.
While not all the youngsters will play international football, James and his team are committed to ensuring that the Trench Town Impact Group provides them with a platform from which to excel.
“When you leave this group, you supposed to can read a book, add and subtract. You might not be a rocket scientist, but you must can get an overseas contract, and if him no get no contract, we should be able to vouch fi him and approach a business place to offer him a job so he can play some business house football,” said James. “Having come through our system, he would be qualified on both grounds for the job based on his schooling as well as football skills, with football opening the door.”
For more info
To find out more about the Trench Town Impact Group and the work it is doing or to help it achieve its goals, you may call Jermaine James at 876-446-6805.