Franz George, committee member for the Office of the Representative for the Caribbean and Americas region, has the opportunity to speak to inspiring Kenville. Let’s take it back to July #ThrowbackThursday and be inspired by sports and community development, especially with the Olympics still ongoing.
Kenville Horne, 29 years old, hails from the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Six years ago, he started the Kenville Horne Sports Academy in his community of Rose Hall, a small village in the North Leeward end of St. Vincent, as a means of helping disadvantaged young people develop into model citizens and teaching them sports. Since then the academy has been helping youth each year and impacting lives. Currently the academy has a cohort of 40 children in the group. Here’s what Kenville had to say about the work he has been doing through sports:
Q: How long has the Kenville Horne Sports Academy been established and what is the aim of the organisation?
A: The aim of the organisation is to teach sports, mainly cricket and football, to help disadvantaged and at risk youth in Rose Hall, and surrounding communities, to develop valuable skills that will help them to earn a living and become descent and model citizens. The academy also targets problems such as drug use, verbal abuse, gang violence, and crime so different initiatives such as drug avoidance sessions, crime prevention sessions, sessions on how to develop discipline and respect and other self-development sessions are incorporated into the cricket and football training. I mainly target youth who are between the age of 6 and 17 and most of the initiatives are held on weekends.
Q: What has the response been to your initiatives and what is the support like?
A: I have had relatively good support from persons in and outside of my community. I have had help doing fundraisers and the many businesses try their best to help despite the fact that they are experiencing a lot of difficulty due to the tough economic climate in SVG. My community understands the importance of what the academy is aiming to do and they help as much as they can. Persons from the community as well as persons who no longer live in the community but are living overseas have made contributions in ways that they can. Added to that, some parents have been very helpful although there are some who can still be more supportive.
I have also had support from other service oriented groups such as the Rotary Club South of SVG.
Q: What has the success of the programme been like so far?
A: Youth who have taken part in the academy have become upstanding youth in their community. There is a marked difference in their attitude and other at risk youth who have not taken part in the programme. Also, they have become very good athletes. I have had some participants play for the National Under 19 and Under 16 Cricket and Football teams.
Q: Have you experienced any challenges?
A: Yes I have experienced many setbacks and challenges. My group still has a lot of issues as there are still some parents that do not show enough interest in their children’s development and don’t play a big enough part in the programme when they’re asked to contribute.
Also, sometimes the facilities that we use aren’t always in the best condition. They may not be prepared for use even after making the relevant requests; some persons don’t stick to their commitment to maintain the facilities.
Q: What has been your main motivation for doing the work that you have done?
A: My main motivation has been to give back to my community. I have a dream and a vision for my community and I want it to become a reality. I saw how drug use and the drug trade affected youth especially since many of them dropped out of school to cultivate and sell drugs. I also saw how youth were very disrespectful and how they lacked values. I wanted better for my community and the youth who live in it.
Also, personally, from a young age, I had great talent in sports, especially cricket, and there wasn’t anyone in Rose Hall who was committed to teach me the sport or coach me. I think I lost out on many opportunities because of that. I also come from a poor background and so I did not have the finances to acquire gears or to pay for my own development. So I understand how it feels not to have and I want to help youths who are in situations similar to mine when I was younger, so that they won’t have to lose out like I did. I want to give those kids the opportunity so that they could reach their full potential despite their disadvantages.
Since receiving the Queens Young Leader Award, I have been even more motivated to help the youth and expand the academy. I also received the Award for Exemplary Voluntary Service from the National Sports Council. These awards have sort of validated the work I have been doing and they have helped me to realise how much more I can do to help more young people.
Q: Why have you chosen sports as the medium of fulfilling your mission of helping your community?
A: I believe that sports is one of the most enjoyable and attractive activities to youth. It offers youth the opportunity to enhance their discipline, teamwork skills and their competitiveness and I believe that these are traits that are vital to the success of any individual.
Q: What are the plans for the Kenville Horne Sports Academy in the near future?
A: I want to expand the programme to service different communities beyond my community of Rose Hall. Also, I want to contribute to the area of education as I see sports and education going hand in hand. I plan to do this by offering homework assistance and lessons to children.
Q: If you were to leave a word of encouragement to persons working to help develop youth like you are, what would it be?
A: Youth development is a serious and difficult task. You need to have a passion for it and you need to understand that financial gain should not be your main objective. Our nations, communities and the world need persons who are committed and prepared to make a positive impact in the life of our youth and we cannot afford to give up the fight!!”