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11-y-o finds joy in feeding needy persons

Days leading up to her sixth birthday, Courtney Greaves had a vision that she should be a voice for the less fortunate.

Instead of requesting a doll or fancy dress, she asked her parents for funds to feed the homeless. Now 11, the head girl of the Jessie Ripoll Primary School in Kingston is busy preparing for Primary Exit Profile, but still finds the time to assist those in dire need. Last Saturday, the youngster and a few of her friends prepared and handed out cooked meals to 198 street people across the Corporate Area.

"I got a message from God in my dream saying that I should spend my birthday feeding the homeless, and on my birthday I did just that. It's something that I do on a regular basis when I can. It's just hard for me to eat sometimes knowing that there are others out there who don't have meal to eat," she said.

Last December, Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams revealed that the feeding programme for the homeless has been expanded but Courtney is still passionate.

"I still feel like I have a part to play and that was the reason God gave me the vision," she said. Although she is just a pre-teen, Courtney said she is able to prepare the most sumptuous dishes with the assistance of her mother Tanya Lowden.

"My mother taught me how to cook and she monitors me along the way. Funding for the meals usually comes from my allowance and sometimes persons from my group help me. The name of my group is Little Ambassadors and Team. When persons see me out there catering to the less fortunate, they always encourage me to keep it up. I feel really fulfilled just knowing that I was able to put a smile on the face of others," she said. Lowden said Courtney has always been dedicated to helping others.

"She is kind-hearted from birth. During her spare time she will have study groups and assists other students with their work ... she is just about giving back. She takes her time and prepares these dishes with pure love. No one is perfect but she is a very good child," Lowden said.

Courtney, an aspiring paediatrician and speech therapist, is also soaring academically. In addition to being an 'A' student and head girl, she is also president of the Catholic Club, female house leader and peer counsellor. She also won the Global Poetry Foundation competition last month which was based in the Netherlands. According to the poetry committee, Courtney's poems have originality, express many concerns and give solutions to a few situations currently affecting many countries. The youngster was elated as she collected her trophies yesterday.

"I am extremely proud to represent my country Jamaica and I am delighted that I am chosen to be the winner of this competition," she said.