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  • Violence Prevention Alliance

International Day of Peace Celebrated with Sports and Family Fun Day in Effortville

May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh (left) greets Dr Deanna Ashley (centre), executive director of the VPA, and Gerard Fontain, director, Office of Citizen Security at USAID Jamaica.

The Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) and partners celebrated International Day of Peace on Thursday, September 21 with sports and family fun day at the Effortville Community Centre in May Pen, Clarendon.

The United Nations calendar day was celebrated under the theme 'Actions for Peace’ and encouraged the strengthening of peace, both within and among all nations and people.

Dr Deanna Ashley, executive director of the VPA, said that the sports and family fun day was a day to recognise one’s responsibility to foster peace. The day’s activity was organised in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Since March 2023, the VPA has been implementing Project X-Change in May Pen in Clarendon, as well as Hannah Town and Jones Town in Kingston, as part of the Positive Pathways initiative of USAID. The project is focused on interventions to assist in ‘ex-changing’ a negative trajectory of very high-risk youth, aged 17-29 years, to a more positive pathway.

Dr Ashley said that the central focus of the event was a football competition between participants from Project X-Change, May Pen, who invited their counterpart youth participants from Kingston and St. Andrew to participate. She underscored the value of sports in peace building as she said it teaches tolerance, team spirit, loyalty, and fair play.

Patrons who attended the sports and family fun day received health checks and other social services.

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