Teaming UP and getting it done

20/02/2021 –  Tracy* and her son Gregory* are a formidable team. No matter the activity; academic, sport or even leisure, she is close by, cheering him on.

For Tracy, no sacrifice is too great to ensure Gregory gets everything he needs to succeed. She practices being an active parent, instilling in him the values of commitment, perseverance and discipline and teaching him that asking for help is a sign of maturity and strength – not weakness.

Both mother and son are active participants in the UP Unity & Peace programme, which operates across six communities in Kingston, Jamaica and is coordinated by Fight for Peace. Tracy first attended a parenting workshop and now is a member of the Denham Town Parenting Support Group.

The parenting workshop was run by the Joy Town Community Development Foundation, one of 40 organisations working collaboratively as part of UP Unity & Peace. All the parenting activities under UP Unity & Peace are funded by UNICEF Jamaica.

For Tracy, parenting means using the four M’s she learned in the Joy Town Community Development Foundation workshop – monitoring, modeling, mentoring and motivating her child. As a result, she regularly interacts with Gregory’s coaches, community coordinators and the Fight for Peace psycho-social team who give encouraging feedback on his growth.

She knows where he is, what he does and who he interacts with on a daily basis, so she can provide the support and guidance he needs. But she also knows that parents need a champion too.

“I like that members of the [UP Unity & Peace] programme’s team actually ask me how I am doing. They talk to me and value what I think and believe. They want to see how they can help me as well as my son. By helping me with my own problems, I was able to help him even more.”

Even recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the family experienced strong feelings of isolation, inconsistent access to the internet, and financial challenges, Tracy and Gregory benefited from support from partners on the UP Unity & Peace programme.

With the encouragement from the team in UP Unity & Peace, Gregory and his mother were able to remain focused on their goal of having Gregory complete his secondary school entrance exams. Their investment in developing Gregory’s academic and personal life paid off – he was awarded a place at one of Jamaica’s best-known secondary schools for boys.

When children and parents have the support and opportunities to do their best, they come out on top.

*These names have been altered for privacy reasons. 

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