Thirteen year-old, Akeef Nugent, says he has been saving his lunch money to purchase school supplies for other children in the Cockburn Gardens community, who like him, are raised in less fortunate households.
Nugent, who attends Excelsior High School, has been volunteering his time to assist children, his age and younger, with lessons covering Mathematics, English, Science, Social Studies, Drama, and Sports.
He says he was inspired to start the classes as a means of bringing the community together and to create a foundation of love for the upcoming generation. Cockburn Gardens has been divided for years due to gang-related crime and violence.
The youngster’s selfless work to “bring back the love” to his community has touched the hearts of many, and since then he has received overwhelming support from individuals, private organisations, as well as a pledge from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to support both his teaching, and sports programmes.
Inspired by Nugent’s drive to uplift and help other youth in his community, Medical Associates Limited gifted him with school stationery and supplies to assist in his mission of educating the youth. It was a gesture organised by the hospital’s medical laboratory department in their recognition of Medical Lab Professionals week which was celebrated from April 23-29.
Laboratory Manager at Medical Associates Hospital, Sherene Reid-Gordon said, “We are very elated with what Nugent is doing. His passion to serve is something that we want to celebrate because it will send a message to other children right across the island to do good, even when no one is looking.”
“This is what being a lab professional is all about; it’s about giving of yourself and your time for the well-being of others. Medical Lab Professionals week presents the perfect opportunity for us to show our people that we care and that we are here to serve,” she added.
Medical Lab Professionals week is an annual celebration of the lab professionals who play a vital role in health care and patient advocacy. The celebration provides lab professionals with a unique opportunity to increase public understanding of and appreciation for clinical laboratory personnel.
This year, Medical Associates which was recently acquired by Novamed through Caribbean Health Systems in partnership with First Rock Capital Holdings, deemed it fitting to support young Nugent in his work to educate marginalised youths in his community, some of whom have ambitions of one day working in the medical industry.
“In addition to the stationery and supplies that we will be presenting to him, we have put together a small purse that will go to directly to Nugent,” said Reid-Gordon.
Medical Associates presented Nugent with schools supplies spanning notebooks, pencils, pens, sharpeners, rulers and rubbers in quantity sufficient for 30 students.
Executive Co-Chair and Managing Director of Medical Associates Hospital, Dr. David Walcott, who is also founder and managing partner of Novamed, lauded the work of the hospital’s lab team and young Akeef for being a source of inspiration.
“During lab week, we wanted to show our appreciation to our hardworking lab members while also making a positive impact on the lives of others. It is important to remember that even during times of celebration, we must remain mindful of those around us who may be facing challenges. By giving to others, we not only improve their lives but also enhance our own sense of purpose and fulfilment,” he said.
“I am proud of our lab team for embracing this spirit of generosity and hope that our efforts inspire others to do the same,” added Walcott.
Medical Laboratory Professionals Week originated in 1975 as National Medical Laboratory Week, or NMLW, under the auspices of the American Society for Medical Technology, now called the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). In subsequent years, other organisations have served as cosponsors and campaign supporters.
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