Jacqueline Shaw – Committed to youth development

ALL WOMAN  

SHE’S committed to coaching, mentoring as well as youth and community development, a path she took because of how she grew up.

A staunch Christian and a product of the inner-city community of McKoy Gardens, Spanish Town, Jacqueline Shaw told All Woman that while she was growing up it was not the norm to see individuals from her area entering traditional jobs, and most times it was because they did not know what steps to take to improve their lives.

As a result, once she found a way to rise above her circumstances, she determined that her destiny was to help people. And so, after leaving St Jago High, Shaw signed up for the School Leavers Training Opportunities Programme with HEART Trust/NTA which placed her at the then Worker’s Bank, and by the time her first year ended, Jamaica National bought the entity and she was confirmed as an administrative assistant.

From there Shaw enrolled at the University of Technology where she did a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in finance and marketing, became credit administration supervisor, regional supervisor and trainer, to now holding the position of communications and client services manager with Jamaica National Small Business Loans.

“Each of the roles I’ve held have developed me to hold the position I do now. I’ve really grown up here and I know the value of self-development,” she explained.

Based on this, Shaw, through her registered non-profit organisation We Speak Life Global, engages children in inner-city communities in communication and economic development programmes.

“While in McKoy Gardens I would walk through the community, talk to people, find out where they are, search the papers to find things for them to do. Now the organisation uses communication as a way of development, and based on the topics chosen, children are given a chance to do research and make presentations and improve their ability to speak, represent themselves and be far more bold.

“Our flagship event is a Community Shub Out initiative, and through that we’re able to engage the youth in the community — di man dem pon di corna — those we call unattached youth. We use this initiative to bring them the information they need to take positive steps, link them to entrepreneurial initiatives, hence the name “Shub Out”. Part of that is an inspirational concert and reasoning. The initiative is done in partnership with Katalys Crew Productions. Katalys Crew’s mandate is [to be an] agent of change, so they have adopted We Speak Life Global like their foundation, and together we are reaching the community. One initiative is done in February in Olympic Gardens and the other is done in the summer in McKoy Gardens,” Shaw said.

The organisation also has an intercessory prayer arm which involves going to people, praying with them and encouraging them. Shaw added that the greatest part of this is to see young people seek out prayer and engage in meaningful conversations.

She also has plans to use the organisation to help connect youngsters with scholarships, and expressed thanks to her workplace, GraceKennedy, and other businesses that have continuously lent their support to the initiative.

A member of the management team for Katalys Crew Productions, through her church Covenant Life Christian, Shaw also engages in evangelism — particularly street evangelism, as for her, that’s where the people are who need to be reached.

Additionally, she is part of the Golden Acres Community Development Committee and served as mentor for the team that took second place in the Vincent HoSang Business Model Competition, and still maintains contact with a few from there and other engagements which she has been privy to.

She enjoys writing, gospel concerts and quiet time with her 11-year-old son Kevon, and also enjoys helping people build out their visions.

For Shaw, her message to youth is to understand that life has its challenges, but it is important to trust the process.

“That’s my theme. When I was growing up, my dad would say he is growing soldiers and I thought it was unfair, but when challenges came we said, “Let’s draw for the soldier life.” Even when I feel down, I don’t lose sight of the goal. I may feel like I can’t go on today, but I don’t make that stop me from achieving what I need to. Trust the process — everything will add up to good and whatever purpose God has ordered for my life,” she said. “No matter the challenges there’s always hope, a way, and something there for you. No matter where you’re from you can press through challenges to achieve what you want to achieve. Take a positive step — shub out!”

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