Miss SVG 2022 contestant #3 Shannan John, of Vermont, launched her community service project, on Sunday, telling fellow villagers she was ecstatic to have been assigned the theme “Promoting Safety and Reducing Crime”.
John, 26, who is sponsored by CEDCO, said there are “many negative stigmas” that surround the community “because of what is portrayed in the media.
“But I have lived here long enough to know that you, my people, are not at all what they say,” she told a meet-and-greet event at the Vermont Community Centre.
“Vermont is filled with hard workers, motivated individuals and some of the best farmers you can think of — young and old — and I see how diligently everyone works to make sure that they and their family are fed,” John said.
The GECCU Miss SVG Community Service Project, which is being held in the lead up to next month’s pageant for the first time, seeks to engender a spirit of volunteerism and outreach that will help to build stronger communities and awaken the consciousness of contestants and persons in the community.
Each contestant will be required to complete a project based on a selected theme by implementing a series of activities within a community across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
John told the residents that while she has been given one week in which to execute the project with the help of her sponsor, “the unity that we plan to resonate through Vermont will last a lifetime”.
On Monday, she will host a CPR training session, which is open to the public.
On Tuesday, there will be the launch of the neighbourhood watch website.
On Wednesday, John and members of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme will visit the Buccament Government School.
“I will be targeting the Grade 5 and 6 students along with visiting the K-4 to promote ways in which they can be safe and also choose the right path,” John said.
A self-defence training session will be held on Thursday and is also free and open to the public.
“Friday will be the community clean up and I am seeking volunteers from today who would like to join me in cutting down the grass where the road gangs don’t get to reach in time. So, areas like Top Vermont going towards the trail, Top Pepper Village even the centre yard itself,” John said, adding that volunteers will be served lunch and refreshments.
John’s week of activities will end on Saturday at the Hope Playing Field.
“It will be the first annual anti-violence competition, where I would have the children of Buccament Government School or any neighbouring school express what they know about promoting safety and reducing crime through songs, poems, drawings, and dances,” John said.
She said the children will compete and be given prizes for their performance in activities such as an “old school sack race.
“This day will also be the official launch of Vermont FC, a team, which, with the help of my sponsor, has been brought into the community to not only compete in local competitions but to promote brotherhood among our boys and young men. They will compete against the police football team and are already excited to keep that trophy home,” John said.
In introducing herself at the event, John said she is proud to be from Vermont, although she relocated to the United States as a child to further her education.
“Despite dealing with the challenges that come with a cultural shift, I managed to study all the way through undergrad, obtaining my Associates of Arts in teacher education, and my Bachelor of Arts in both teacher education and psychology,” she said.
John said that in July 2020, after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, she decided to relocate to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“For the past two years, I have met so many wonderful people who motivated me to always push through all the obstacles that I was facing through the rough COVID era. The kindness of these persons that motivated and helped me, pushed me into thinking how I can give back to my community and all communities within St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That thought drove me to the sign up board for Miss SVG and has given me the opportunity to stand before you now as Miss CEDCO Contestant #3,” John said.
She told villagers that the thus far “has not at all been easy but the prayers and the support of my family, friends, supporters, sponsor, chaperone and team has gotten me this far”.