By Romain Kenton | Governor-General’s Youth Ambassador, Director of Ignite and Shash Volunteer
November 12, 2017
“It is my belief that opportunities will present themselves, and it’s up to me to recognize them and act upon them.”
After browsing many images of projects on their social media, I became intrigued by and inspired to become a part of Shashamane Sunrise. I feel that as an effective leader, who is zealous for youth development and volunteerism, that I would be able to help children in my island. Leneka Rhoden, a good friend of mine, brought me on board after meeting with Shashamane Sunrise’s Executive Chairman, Dr Rene Williamson. After that meeting, my Shash Experience was on its way.
My first experience with team Shash was Kite Day at National Baptist Basic School. It was a day filled with activities: dancing, reading, football, and kite flying. I had never played football before, but I was the keeper for one of the teams, and it was a pleasure playing with the young men. I then went on to fly kites, another experience that was new for me. After a long day of activities, the Shash team rewarded the students with small gifts, which students were appreciative of – each saying: “Thank You sir!” All good things must come to an end; it was time to go, the students were sad as they asked, “You coming again?!” and for sure the answer was “Yes!”
One other experience I vividly recall, was a visit to the Maxfield Park Children’s Home – it is an experience that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to inspire teenagers from the Home; many shared the story of how they arrived at the Home, each quite touching. Nevertheless, I reminded them to never feel limited by their current circumstance, but should use it as motivation to grow towards a better reality. I also reinforced this fact: your destination is not determined by where you begin, but the work done during the journey. I then asked about their ambitions, revealing an amazing variety of careers. To drive these dreams, I gave them tips on the subjects needed achieve whichever career goal they set their minds towards. However, the day encompasses other activities including football, basketball, and combing of the hair of female residents by female volunteers. Children were later treated with refreshments courtesy of Shash and computers donated to the facility by Anthony Brown, a fellow volunteer.
On two occasions, I travelled to Windsor Forest Primary School in Portland, for their Career Day and Graduation Ceremony. As a future teacher, going to Career Day was a personally inspiring occasion. I spoke to students about my profession, its requirements and the many institutions they can attend to obtain a teaching degree. Of course, I shared my opinion of the preferred choice, The Mico University College. I shared with them some qualities of an effective teacher; the aspiring teachers among them all felt they have what it takes. I also spoke to some students about being great; I reminded them that to be great you must think great, because greatness comes from the mind. The students’ faces lit up as I spoke, they seemed appreciative of what was being said.
At Prize Giving and Graduation Ceremony, I was given the task of coordinating Shashamane Sunrise’s role in the Ceremony. With great power comes great responsibility – I coordinated the gifts and awards that were contributed by Shashamane, its volunteers and Youth Ambassadors. In addition to this I made breakfast for the team, as we were about to embark on a long journey. I contributed two trophies to the students who attained the highest score in the national primary school exit examinations in Social Studies: The Clarke Kenton Trophy for Excellent Performance in Social Studies. I was honoured to give this award because I specialize in the teaching of Social Studies.
“Volunteering is Fun” – the mantra of this program. “Hard work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, after each visit I was given the opportunity to engage in a relaxing activity: visits to the Fish Pot Restaurant, Winnifred Beach, Boston Beach, etc. I am very grateful for each experience; one of which resulted in overcoming my fear of going on a boat.
Being a part of Shashamane Sunrise has given me the opportunity to work with some of the most meticulous, determined, ambitious and jovial individuals; I joined an amazing family. I hope this program will never deviate from its purpose, and we continue to inspire others through the work that we do. I am grateful to be apart of TeamShash.
Romain Kenton is a youth advocate, motivational speaker, pageant specialist, Governor-General’s Youth Ambassador and Shashamane Sunrise Volunteer. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Education specializing in Social Sciences at the Mico University College.