Where I come from doesn't define who I am or determine where I go! Shikara Dockery |Tivoli Gardens
Let me give you a brief synopsis of my community, my journey, the lives that I've impacted, my work with the community's youths, the stigma attached and lastly the struggles I face on a daily basis to overcome all those obstacles.
Some call it a GHETTO, Political Garrison, others call it an INNERCITY, and some classify it as the Garrison of all Garrison. I CALL IT HOME!
I'm from the Tivoli Gardens Community located in West Kingston, Jamaica.
Growing up in Tivoli Gardens as a child I was often times told that I live in a college. I must always See and Blind, Hear and Deaf and whatever doesn't concern me I should leave it alone. As a child I couldn't understand what that meant, it wasn't until I got older, I fully realized what that meant.
Living in the inner city isn't easy, it has its positives and its negatives. It was really rough for me, my father wasn't around, it was just my mother and my five siblings. Mummy tried her best to make our lives better. She even moved out of the community but unforeseen circumstances would have us move back.
The struggles I went through, the constant discrimination that my community is a garrison, and no good would come from a garrison. My journey through high school, and the life of others in my community helped me make the decision that my life will not be like my mother's but better. My life will not be like the many teenage girls who became mothers and dropped out of high school.
I told myself, I would never be the girl that fall in love with a thug who has many other girls and baby mamas and I wouldn't be the victim of domestic abuse which is very high in my community. Instead I chose to be a young lady that every other young girl would want to emulate. I chose to become a positive leader.
The work I've been doing with some of the young people in my community "Tivoli Gardens" both male and female has been great because I've seen where my help has impacted them positively, through the Tivoli Police Youth Club formerly know as the Presidential Click Youth Club and with the help of other social groups.
I, along with my team, have helped them to realize that there's life outside of Tivoli Gardens, that there's life after high school. Many of the youths believe that after high, there's no going further many of the youths living in Tivoli has never been pass crossroads, however with the help of others we've manage to change all of that. I will continue to do so much more as long as I can, enabling them to change their attitude towards life.
Now everyone knows that Tivoli Gardens carries a heavy stigma a negative one that is, people often say that nothing good comes from Tivoli Gardens. I can remember applying for jobs, I would have to use a different address, because if I place my address even if I'm qualified I would not be chosen because of where I live. However that did not stop me because I know I have a purpose, and it must be fulfill and no one would hinder me from doing.
I am always looking at innovative ways to engage youths in the community and partnering with entities to help lift the stigma attached.
The only real struggles I'm facing right now is getting the assistant from the people who can really impact the lives of these children not only in my community but other communities like mines I'm forever grateful for the people who always help like DSE Jamaica, West Kingston Power Partners, The Tivoli Gardens High School, Lasco, Jamaica Biscuit Company, Grace Kennedy and last but definitely not the least Youths Inspiring Positive Change Ja | The Positive Organisation. We thank you guys very much, for always being their for us.