A Friend indeed
Published: Monday | July 20, 2009
Ryon Jones, Online News Writer
Professed basketball star Kimani friend converses with ‘Make Your Mark’ campers at the University of Technology in St Andrew. – Contribute
Kimani Ffriend has made his mark in various basketball arenas across the world, with his latest being with the national team at the Caribbean championships.
However, it was in taking time out last week that he made one of the most important passes of his career.
Ffriend was guest speaker at the ‘Make Your Mark’ youth camp, being held at the University of Technology (UTech), St Andrew.
“Education is key in terms of success anywhere. I am testimony to someone who had to do schoolwork to get to where I am and I had to have that discipline and drive to be successful,” Ffriend said in his interactive discourse with the teenagers.
Kimani told the campers about his humble beginnings, from being at the bottom of his class to being a well-travelled basketball star.
His nomadic basketball career has seen him playing in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers, as well as teams in Turkey, Russia, Italy, Israel and Serbia where he met his wife.
His latest stint with Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi basketball team in Mersin, Turkey, saw him helping the team to the play-offs for the first time in its history. He has been a member of the Jamaica National Basketball team since 1998 and helped captain the team in the recently concluded championship.
The youngsters were lively and questioned Ffriend about how he adjusted to living in so many countries, the food he ate and issues he had with language barriers.
Sixteen-year-old Damollee Coore, from Manchester, said that what stood out to her the most in Ffriend’s presentation “was his emphasis on education”.
“The camp has been quite excellent. I have seen him (Ffriend) on TV a couple times so I was excited when Mr Kimani showed up,” said 15-year-old Jordon Mollison from Kingston.
“His life story sounds unbelievable; to go from being at the bottom of your class to being a star from a little island. I have learnt from his speech that schoolwork is very important.”
Ffriend, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, said he has plans to give back to Jamaica.
“In the future, I want to give back to Jamaica by building a facility here, especially for youths to play basketball and get scholarships,” he said.
Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, organiser of the camp, told The Gleaner that the camp caters for teenagers and is not like any other.
“It is about their personal development and growth, teaching them things like money management and getting them to understand Jamaica,” she said.
The camp has been making its mark on the teenagers involved since July 6, and is intended to leave a lifelong mark beyond its July 30 conclusion.
Jamaica Gleaner News – Something extra – Entertainment – Thursday | July 9, 2009
Sodanne Browne (second right) and Kevin Webb (right), directors of Professional Moves Dance Company, show these teenagers how to waltz at the Make Your Mark Summer Camp for teenagers at the Faculty of Education, University of Technology, yesterday. – Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer
‘Make your mark’!
Published: Wednesday | July 8, 2009
Kimesha Walters, Gleaner Writer
Lieutenant Geoff Roper, commanding officer at the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing, encourages teens to strive for excellence in the field of study they enjoy during the Make Your Mark Summer Camp teenage exclusive at the University of Technology’s faculty of education and liberal studies on Monday. – Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Teenagers at a Make Your Mark Summer Camp seem ready to make positive changes in their community, schools and country, after an inspirational first day at the inaugural event at the University of Technology’s faculty of education and liberal studies.
“The thing is, nobody can take your dream and live it for you. You have to do that, and it’s gonna take work,” said Lieutenant Geoff Roper, commanding officer at the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing, who gave an encouraging talk to the attentive students.
Roper explained that a good way of doing this was for each person to find something that they liked.
“Do what makes you happy, do not limit yourself when the world is at your feet,” he stressed.
Roper’s words seemed to stir interest in the teenagers as they eagerly raised their hands to ask questions.
“But what if what you love can’t pay the bills?” asked one student, as a few others giggled.
Dominique Brown, an artist who was also on hand, answered the question.
“There’s nothing that you can do that can’t pay the bills, anything that you do, can,” she said reassuringly, while drawing on several examples to make her point clear.
Brown’s point was reiterated by Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, who is in charge of the programme.
Coke-Lloyd, the managing director and chief operations officer of Process Technology and Solutions Limited, implored students to explore all the possible avenues.
“Do not limit yourself. You can turn anything into a business,” she said
Coke-Lloyd, the former chief executive officer and executive director of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, who started the programme, said after rearing two children, she knows what the needs are and this would be helpful in carrying out a successful summer camp.
“I believe that Jamaicans are great people but many of our young people don’t know how to tap into their own niche and God-given talent,” noted Coke-Lloyd.
It is with the gaps in mind that she has created the programme to give teenagers exposure to money management, career planning, constructive networking, and other skills. The children are also taught to understand their parents and visit new and interesting places.
For more information on the Make Your Mark Summer Camp, contact the Secretariat at 29 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10; tel: 925-0038; or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com