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Youth recognised in annual JCI awards

By Carlena Knight

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A local DJ, an ambassador and a clinical psychologist were among nine awardees recognised for their outstanding work over the weekend when the Junior Chamber International (JCI) held its annual Youth Empowerment Awards (YEP).

The event first took place in 2016 and has been held each year since.

One notable awardee was Kwesi ‘DJ Crutches’ Jarvis who won the Entrepreneurship award.

The local disc jockey is known locally for his new juice brand ‘Dadli Dose’ and, despite being disabled, has never let anything deter him from his craft.

Jarvis, who is also a fete promoter having hosted successful events like Hangover and Beach & Bar, told Observer of his gratitude for being recognised for his hard work.

“I felt great. I felt very, very good. I work literally from morning ‘til night on my business. It’s just job to job. So, I felt excellent that you know I got some recognition. It actually felt good,” Jarvis said.

Ambassador Kimberly Percival was also recognised in the area of sports and Jafari-Joseph Hazelwood for music.

Percival made history in September when she became the country’s first athlete to claim top prize at the prestigious international bodybuilding event, the Arnold Classic Europe in Sevilla, Spain.

The Antiguan edged Spain’s Lina Bejarano to the top prize in the Bikini Fitness category, with fellow Antiguan Michelle Seaforth finishing third.

A month later, the former Sportswoman of the Year was appointed an ambassador by Cabinet.

Joseph-Hazelwood is a young and upcoming musician. Last year, the then 17-year-old pannist was a finalist in the Commonwealth Composition Challenge 2020 with his original piece ‘Stuck in Quarantine’.

He was the lone composer from the region to make the final cut.

With the pandemic raging on, the JCI event also added some new awards to the list.

“What we did was we included a mental health category because, you know, it is timely and relevant with the times that we are in,” explained JCI President Leycia Samuels.

“We have also been talking about agriculture a lot and so we included that category as well – this is the first time that we are including it – and of course, education.

“That has been dramatically affected this year so we really wanted to recognise persons who would have excelled in that field and help to adjust their students through the reality of this time.

“We did our entire criteria as well to have it relevant to the pandemic; what have you done since the pandemic started and has really made you outstanding,” she added.

Tiffany Azille, an educator at the TN Kirnon Primary school, was recognised in Education, while Clinical Psychologist Regina Apparicio received an award for Mental Health Activism, and Jamaul Phillip for Agriculture.

These awards, Samuels mentioned, will become regulars on the list.

Samuels shared her excitement over the successful event.

“I feel that the awards went well. It was well received. We accomplished a goal in that a lot of the awardees expressed that they didn’t expect it. They didn’t realise that persons were watching and that’s what these awards are about.

“Recognising talent in youth, motivating them to continue doing what they are doing, giving them a platform to get even better and greater in networking, as well as inspiring other young persons that they can also do it too. They can aspire to be this, do their own thing and be recognised by their peers,” Samuels said.

The other awardees included Daniella Mohamed for the Humanitarian award, Alfonsina Olmos in Culture and Kamalie Mannix for Leadership.

The awards were held under the theme ‘Honouring resilience, dynamism and purpose’.

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