COUNSELLOR: Struggling with my Christian journey

Dear Counsellor,
I am 16 years old and I am having problems doing what is right.

I was baptised a few months ago, but I feel as if I wasted the pastor’s time because I have barely changed. I am trying, and every time I reach a point, unconsciously, for lack of a better word, I go back to square one – that is, cursing, etc.

I am not pressured negatively by my peers, I do not smoke, I stopped drinking any form of liquor and doing the ‘fun’ things. But sometimes I feel as if I’m missing out, sometimes it makes me sad to know that I’m so laid-back out of all my friends.... read more

Shakera Hanson-Powell: Teaching a balance

Shakera Hanson-Powell (centre) shows off her Regional Award for Excellence in Teaching. Surrounding her are (from left) Stevon Sheriffe, JP; Peggy Wellington-Porter; Clines Hanson-Whitely; and Keton Hanson.

At 25 years old, Shakera Hanson-Powell is one of Black River High’s most dedicated educators, and this is while also being an outstanding community member and the Youthlink sales coordinator at the school. A native of St Elizabeth, Hanson-Powell is breaking down all barriers and defying the status quo. Youthlink caught up with the 2019 youth parliamentarian and this is what we found out about the balancing act she has now mastered.

Youthlink (YL): Which schools did you attend, and when?

Shakera Hanson-Powell (SHP): I attended... read more


Posing with the trophy for excellence in leadership at Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) prize-giving ceremony is Donjah Pommells, the head girl.

“THERE ARE many persons in Jamaica and there are many persons in the world – what makes you stand out?” asked 17-year-old Donjah Pommells (pronounced Don-yah), the shining star from the Convent of Mercy Academy, Alpha.

The school’s head girl, young Donjah has enough accolades under her belt to warrant envy, but the student is simply resolved on standing out from the pack. “I don’t want to be regular,” she told Youthlink. I try to do everything in my reach to be a part of my community and to be able to expand my horizons. I refuse to limit myself to school and church... read more

COUNSELLOR: Teens and skin bleaching

Dear Counsellor:
I AM 14 years old and I live with my mother and grandmother. I have always thought that I was black and ugly. My family members very often tell me I am black and ugly like my father’s side of family. I have always felt unloved and unwanted. I have been using a bleaching cream since I was in grade seven ... I am now in grade 10.

Recently, I started noticing that my skin is extra pink and that my skin is peeling. I have bumps with what seems like pus, and it is all over my face. The skin on my face is so thin that I can see the veins. My face is like a patchwork... read more


If you’ve watched the movie Neighbors (2014), you know that it’s easy to have a complicated relationship with the people living right next door. Some of us may love our neighbours like family, while others barely know what those people look like. In any case, it’s quite likely that the topic of neighbours will come up at least once in your life, whether because of some interaction with them, or even merely as a result of some rumours you’ve heard. Look at some of these situations and decide whether they bring your neighbours to mind.

Your mother and your next-door neighbour have... read more

DEAR COUNSELLOR: Teenagers and social media

Dear Counsellor:
I am a 14-year-old female and I am addicted to social media. I find that everything about my life is posted there … it feels like I cannot help myself. Wherever I go and whatever I am doing, I post … all my pictures … my issues, my successes, my failures, are out on my page. I love watching or following persons as well. My friends are tired of my need to post and have threatened to ‘unfriend’ me if this ‘obsession’ continues.

I find it pleasurable and exciting when I post on this medium. I do not think this is an obsession. This medium allows... read more


Travelling is definitely one thing no one has been able to avoid. Sometimes it can be fun and luxurious, other times strenuous and aggravating. Often, it’s the circumstances under which we’re travelling that makes the difference. Bear that in mind as you look at these scenarios and decide which you would rather.

You have an intense fear of flying – you can’t seem to shake the feeling that something will go terribly wrong on the aeroplane. It’s been diagnosed as a clinical problem and you’ve been prescribed medication that’s meant to help with the terrible anxiety it causes. But even... read more

DEAR COUNSELLOR: Teens and gambling

Dear Counsellor:
I AM a 13-year-old male and I am concerned for my friend. I have been trying to tell him that his gambling is getting out of hand. He insists that he has it covered. I know that he steals from other students, misleads his grandmother, and asks for more money for projects than he needs so he can have money to use for gambling. I recently found out that he is not attending school some days, as he uses the lunch money to gamble. He has started lying to his family and the teachers, and his grades have fallen in such a way that it is pathetic. How can I... read more

WOULD YOU RATHER: Do you value your health?

Our health should always be our top priority. However, we tend to put our health at risk a lot more than we even realise. Here are a few situations to make you consider to what extent you really value your health.

Your school is having an in-school concert featuring your favourite artiste. Seeing that you’ve already signed up to be an usher and work backstage, it is guaranteed that you will be able to meet the artiste. However, you remember that you have a follow-up appointment to check if your recently broken arm is healing properly (the doctor said it was possible that it might... read more

‘Above It All’ is back!

It always amazes me how determined we are to be successful in the midst of darkness and turmoil. Throughout the 14 parishes, you can find stories of youths daring to defy poverty, hardship or health-related issues. This was the foundation on which the first set of stories in the Above It All series were told.

It evoked compassion, insight and sympathy, as the stories of teens’ journeys were unfiltered and genuine. For one of the stories, Lady Allen was so moved that she invited the interviewee to King’s House for a chat. She also provided financial assistance for the former state... read more


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