By Christopher Tobutt
24 young men on the Boyz 2 Men programme worked all day at the Sunrise Seniors’ home, out at East End on Saturday 29 May. It was hard work but it was fun, too, and even more fun because they were side-by-side with members of the Lions Club who are overseeing the project, and Lions like to get things done. Boyz 2 Men was started by school counsellor Christopher Murray to help teenage boys at John Gray High School transition into adulthood by teaching them how to respect themselves, and respect others too. The seniors’ home is undergoing a complete refurbishment, financed by the Lions, and during the week some prisoners from Northward have also been helping during the week by scraping the paint off the walls and repair some of the cracks which had appeared in the walls of the building. When the project is finished, hopefully around the end of June, the house will transition in use from a residential centre to a day-care centre, and also be a place where school kids can come and meet with the older folks of East End.
15-year old Carson McField was working hard inside. “I joined Boyz 2 Men last year in September,” he said. “Right now I am scraping all the old paint, so we can start to put on new paint. It’s hard work, but we want to do it so that we can help the community.” Ben Thompson, also 15 said “we’re scraping the walls off so we can paint, and helping rearrange things so that elderly people can come here. Andjo Stewart, 16, said, “I wanted to join the Boyz 2 Men because it’s a fun group, I get to be with my Bros, and get some community-hours while working.”
Lion Anthony Rich said, “We’re partnering with the Boyz 2 Men today. A couple of months ago the Department of Children and Family Services asked us to assist with the repurposing of this building the in East End and we are working with the inmates from Northward during the week. Then we were delighted when we got the opportunity and the call from Boyz 2 Men who said they were looking for a project as well. So we are happy to be with them here today, they are prepping the walls inside and also painting the storage shed outside which they’ve already prepared. It’s exciting.
President of the lions club Carmin Godfrey said, “Eight lions and 24 young men from Boyz 2 Men are helping to refurbish this home for the elderly in East End. With the help of the prisoners as well we are refurbishing it and getting it back up and running again, so it’s very much a joint venture. Mr. Murray, who has seen the programme grow year by year since starting it more than a decade ago, said, “This is a fantastic opportunity that the Boyz 2 Men programme has received to collaborate with the Lions Club. We wanted to do a community project and we made the connections at John Gray High School.” Jaheim Ebanks 17, “I’ve been scraping off the walls and painting and stuff like that and its enjoyable – getting out of the house and getting some air, and decide to do some experiences and stuff like that I have never done before.”