Mentees show off their certificates
Mentees show off their certificates. ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

Congratulations and a huge well done to all the mentees who participated in our Boys Can Summer Competition, Be Resilient!

Held under the theme Be Resilient!, the inaugural staging of the Boys Can Summer Competition provided opportunities for participants in the Boys’ Can Mentoring Programme to channel their inner creativity and express how they are coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Participants submitted a variety of creative entries including songs, poetry, and stories. 

The competition was inspired by a series of Boys Can online sessions held in June 2020 which focused on building resilience in the face of challenges such as how to continue studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the closure of schools. The virtual sessions provided an outlet for the boys to talk about such challenges and an opportunity to equip them with the tools needed to address them.

Our panel of judges, made up of representatives from our partner Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation, the British Council in Jamaica, and our programme mentors Verrol Blake, from the Boys Can Programme and Fabian Thomas, Boys' Can Training Facilitator; scored and assessed the winning entries. 

We were really impressed by our mentees creativity and originality in showing us how they´re coping in lockdown and what resilience means to them! Below are our winning entries, as well as some of the boys' and judges' commentaries. 

Winning entries for our Boys Can competition:

1st place: Rajae Hinds, from Greater Portmore High School for his song Coping with Covid 19

For someone unfamiliar with the Boys Can programme, one of our judges described Rajae´s piece as a perfect compendium of the programme and recent activities. Using both visuals and music, he has produced a piece with original and expressive lyrics, great rhythm and all-round production to show how he´s coping in lockdown and his vision of resilience. All in all, a fantastic effort and a worthy winner! 

"Taking part in this competition was wonderful, I had a lot of motivators who pushed me to participate in the competition, with the motivation of my mother and guidance counsellor I came out victorious. Taking part in the British Council programme I have learnt a lot about self-esteem, coping with COVID and resilience. They have done a lot to motivate me to work hard towards my goal".

(Rajae Hinds, Boys Can competition winner)

→Click here to listen to Rajae´s song

2nd place: Newton Jackson, from Greater Portmore High School for his story The Twin

In his story, Newton uses his original style in an endearing and entertaining dialogue showing how a friend´s support helps him to cope in lockdown and stay resilient: all finished off with an ´elbow shake´ between friends!

“I enjoyed the music in the [Boys Can programme] online session, it was fun and very inspirational. I was afraid to enter the competition at first.. but the British Council and Mr Hibbert (school guidance counsellor) encouraged us so I built up my courage to enter and I came 2nd, so thanks to Almighty God, the British Council, Mr Hibbert and my mom”.

(Newton Jackson, Boys Can competition 2nd prize winner)

3rd place: Ricquan Chambers, from Greater Portmore High with his song Quarantine

Ricquan´s piece has great rhythm and lyrics to describe lockdown and how he´s coping. Strong vocals, a cool vibe and an overall great production! For the 16-year-old boy, this programme has pulled out the best in him:

"Sincere thanks to the British Council and Grace Foundation for the Boys Can programme. This programme has pulled out the best in all of us, and for this we are grateful. We have learned to be courageous, strong and motivated to go forward.  I´m glad I took part in this competition because it really helped me to build my self-esteem and confidence".

(Ricquan Chambers, Boys Can competition 3rd prize winner)

Click here to listen to Ricquan´s song

The  boys received their prizes during a hybrid virtual/face-to-face awards ceremony, hosted at the GraceKennedy/Parade Gardens STEM Centre in Downtown Kingston.on August 25, 2020.
The  boys received their prizes during a hybrid virtual/face-to-face awards ceremony, hosted at the GraceKennedy/Parade Gardens STEM Centre in Downtown Kingston.on August 25, 2020.  ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

Top prizes pose with their certificates
Top prizes pose with their certificates. ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

Rajae Hinds was awarded with the 1st place for his song Coping with Covid 19
Rajae Hinds was awarded with the 1st place for his song Coping with Covid 19. Here he poses with Marjaalaine Francis of Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation, who hosted and awarded prizes to the winning mentees.  ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

Ricquan Chambers makes  a presentation on what the programme means to him
Ricquan Chambers made a presentation on what the programme means to him. ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

 

The 2nd place: Newton Jackson, from Greater Portmore High School for his story The Twin
The 2nd place: Newton Jackson, from Greater Portmore High School for his story The Twin. ©

Mr. Verrol Blake, photographer and programme mentor - Boys Can Programme

Highly Commended

Kimoy Jackson, from Greater Portmore High, earned Highly Commended for his story The Girl Carona Makes

With his own creative style, Kimoy depicts Coronavirus as a girl who´s cancelled 2020. His story shows originality and a strong resilient streak in his uplifting ending where he proclaims ´from now on I am a resilient man´: "The competition was kind of hard but I got some encouraging words from my mum and I pull through", said Jackson.

For Nicola Ford, mother of Kimoy and Newton Jackson, the summer competition had a positive impact on her boys to help them cope with the change:

"Kimoy and Newton are two shy boys and they would say mommy I can´t do it, and I say to them: yes you can. They started their stories and from time to time I would say to them come read what you wrote for me. Most times I would say to them come tell me how you can be resilient and we would talk and make jokes. I try to get them to understand that this is the new normal and we have to live through it all".

(Nicola Ford, mother of Boys Can competition winners Newton and Kimoy Jackson)

Akil Tucker, from Greater Portmore High, earned Highly Commended with his essay The Understanding of Resilience to me

In his original and thoughtful essay on resilience, Akil demonstrates his strong understanding of what it means to be resilient, the skills that help to make you so and the importance of communication and seeking support from others.

Tajay Tapper, from Spanish Town High, earned Highly Commended with his poem Quarantine Time

In his poem, Tajay uses punchy language and rhythm to convey a positive attitude in the face of adversity in lockdown: ´Wah nuh kill we mek we stronger´.  

Download below to read the written entries from our winners!

And finally, a late entrant however we wanted to share from Washington Bolt of Tivoli Gardens High, his testament to his mother´s resilience in "COVID times".

See also

External links