Young man committed to being role model for ‘friend dem weh a tief’ Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Michael Reid, the then 21-year-old man who took to social media to lament his trying circumstances last year, has completed one course of study and is looking forward to graduating in 2024 from the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) with an associate’s degree.

The young man, who defied the odds of being jobless, homeless and almost co-opted into gang violence, had made an impassioned plea for help to turn his circumstances around and was offered courses of study by both the UCC and the Northern Caribbean University (NCU).

The universities gifted Reid a chance to bolster his entrepreneurial pursuits and personal development in response to his pleas for help to improve his life, even as he tried desperately to endure the financial pressure of not being able to provide for himself and ignore the calls from his peers to join a life of crime.

Reid has so far completed a three-month course in business administration at NCU. He is also a year into his associate’s degree programme in logistics and supply chain management at UCC.

“Actually, I thought the [UCC] course would be more stressing, but it’s not that bad, it can gwaan,” Reid told Loop News of his journey so far.

He has also found gainful employment at a supermarket in St James, where he is from, and is still managing his broiler business.

Michael Reid shows some of his poultry as part of his broiler business.

Speaking of his ability to hold down his part-time job, school and his farm, Reid said: “Mi manage quite wel,l and the boss is understanding of the fact that I’m going to school. Him give me the chance to go to school and then make up the work another time.”

His motivation to stay on the path to self and financial growth comes from his desire to be a positive influence and role model to “mi friend dem weh a tief a road,” Reid told Loop News.

Recounting an incident when one of his friends called him to ask for his help in reading the word N-O-T-H-I-N-G, Reid explained that he does not take the quest for self-actualisation lightly.

“After me help him, him turn to me and say, “All a we can’t turn criminal enuh bredda,” and mi look into it and say, ‘You know seh a true.’ So the fact that I have the brain, I’m going to do something with it,” he said of his push to be a motivation to his peers.

“Me have that as me motivation, to be the one that they can look up to and say, ‘Michael do it, we can do it, too.’ Mi feel proud fi know that they can look at me and say, ‘Michael a go a school and him have him business so mi can do it, too.’ A dem thing deh mi use as my motivation,” he said.

The backyard broiler farm that he got assistance to set up through the social media video he posted has grown to 500 chickens.

More chickens on Michael Reid’s backyard broiler farm.

He told Loop News that he sells to “community people” as well as two restaurants “weh a me them mainly buy from”.

His dream of going into cash crop farming is still on the table, but he is taking his time to grow the funds to launch this element of his plans, he said.

“I have the land space currently, but I’m gonna take my time and deal with that,” he said.

With so many people reaching out for help through social media, Reid said he is aware of the sentiments of some people who expect him to just take the money he got through his video appeal and fall back into his old life.

“Nuff people think that my thing would just come up and fail because many people get the help, and a couple of weeks later, they just blow off and gone back to the usual. So, the fact that mi really hold it, nuff people really respect that,” he said.

Reid’s next move is to apply to join the army.

“When mi check the levels with the associate’s degree that I’m getting, I can apply to turn a soldier and right way that is what is on my mind,” he said.

“That will give me more discipline, and then mi can she, ‘A man from the garrison really do this,’” said Reid.

By Tameka Gordon