Youth Parliamentarian Helps Students Better their Best

Date Published: 
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Throughout May 2017, a number of initiatives have been held across the island as Jamaica commemorated Child Month. St. James Youth Parliamentarian Shavone Smith thought it necessary to move beyond merely providing treats to children during the month, and implement a project that would have a positive and indelible impact on students at her alma mater, Somerton Alll-Age and Infant School.

The week-long project which started on May 15 and culminated on Children's Day (May 19) was implemented under the theme: "To Make my Best Better". 

According to Shavone, "During Child's Month, it is usually the norm to visit a children's home or give ice-cream or other small treats to children all in an aim to show them you appreciate them. However, this year, my intention was not to give them tokens that they would occasionally look at, rather I wanted to do something that would instill value and purpose in them".

Over 40 students were engaged throughout the week of activities, wiith the support of volunteers from the St. James YIC Ambassadors for Change 4-H Club. The students participated in a number of interactive sessions including, agriculture, home economics, résumé sriting, strategic goal setting and etiquette.

Shavonne notes that the project was initially targetted at 20 students. With the high demand, excitement and interest among the students, the initiative had to be restructured to accommodate more than twice the numer of students initially projected. 

Project Highlights - To Make My Best Better


On the final day, an expo was organised which showcased the work completed by the students throughout the week. Shavonne is of the view that the students benefitted immensely, a sentiment which was shared by teachers, students, and other attendees at the expo. 

"I know that many students have garnered knowledge in a variety of areas that they would have probably not been exposed to until high school", explained Shavone. "It is also evident that many of them have the potential to become fashion designers, tailors and farmers. This was exactly my aim as I wanted the students to develop an appreciation for these jobs rather than just continue focusing on the saturated traditional ones", she continued.

This year, Child Month was commemorated nationally under the theme, "Take Action! Break the Chain of Abuse Against Children".