I am Rasheed Downer. I am 13 years old, and I am a victim of a crime. Currently I am a scholarship student at one of Calabar High School for boys in Kingston. I love track and field because it allows me to run, release all my stress and be myself. But then I lost someone really close to me who was my coach – but also was best friend, school father, mentor, teacher and so much more so.
Besides being a track and field coach, Nicholas Nuefville taught me about what it takes to be a leader helping others – to create a name for ourselves by leaving our own legacy.
However, he was murdered in 2021.
He would go out of his way to help us, even going into his own pocket to pay student medical expenses; or if you needed something to eat or a pair of shoes he would try and help out. So when we heard the news I went into a state of depression and anxiety, because I felt like the whole entire world was falling down on me.
I wanted to quit the team, but eventually I remembered my words to him. To this day, I still hold my promise that I will be a resilient student, and I will continue making mine and his legacy by helping others. I want to make myself, and my coach proud in everything I do, whether by running in the track and field team, helping other students, getting involved in youth organizations, being a peer counselor, or even hosting a radio show. Every day I wake up, I want to live it for him.
If I could advise youth during this pandemic, it would be to seek out a mentor. Especially in times like this, we all need someone a bit older, with more experience, who has been in similar situations. We can learn from their advice and their mistakes. If you feel you might be in a terrible situation, you do not have to go through it alone when all along there is someone who can help you through it. Receiving mentorship could benefit you for life and put you in a position to help others too.
Credit: Rasheed Downer, U-Reporter Jamaica