Brandon Brady still painting

Painter Brandon Brady says it only takes him a day to complete a portrait.

AT 21 years old, Brandon Brady, a past student of Spalding High, is taking on the painting world one detail at a time. As far as memory allows him, his fascination with art has been ever present, and because of that, he is using his gift to send a message to some of his customers as his young business continues to grow.

The Kingston native has, if nothing else, faith.

“Nowadays, people tend to request portraits, although I still do a little commercial painting,” he explained.

Now that his hobby has been transformed into a dependable income, Brady has developed a... read more

DEAR COUNSELLOR: Teens and mental health

I attend a prominent high school in St Andrew. I live with my maternal grandmother and my younger sister; she is 15 years old. This is my problem. My sister has been having episodes of hearing voices and doing things that can be described as ‘crazy’ and/or ‘unusual’. She has been to a psychiatrist and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. These are some of the things she has been doing. She has a hard time concentrating or following a train of thought in discussions, whether at home or at school. Sometimes she says she sees and hears things that no one else sees or... read more

Gabrielle Burke LED BY FAITH

The Tension and anxiety had become so thick in the examination room that you could almost touch it. Yet, while one nervous and equally jittery youngster closed her eyes to whisper a prayer before the touchdown of the day’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) paper, she hadn’t just prayed for herself, she prayed for the roomful of classmates and associates, asking the Lord to lead them all through what may.

Gabrielle Burke does not like to be called a Christian, but her decision, two years ago, to give her life to the Lord has made the brilliant teenager a better human,... read more


I AM a 14-year-old male and I have found that every ‘free’ moment I have, I use it to masturbate. It feels good to masturbate. No one knows that I masturbate. I am a B+ student and I am great at athletics and badminton. I know that I like girls, but I know that it is not legal nor the right time to engage in sex with a girl. However, when I masturbate, I feel as if I am doing something wrong. Can this cause me harm? Is it wrong to masturbate?
– M.B.

Dear M.B.,
Masturbation, as you already know, refers to touching your own sex organs for pleasure.... read more

Richard ‘Awire’ Lecky and the 5150 PROJECT

Richard ‘Awire’ Lecky, caught in mid-air performing a stunt alongside 5150 Trails co founder Nature Boy.

RICHARD ‘AWIRE’ Lecky wants to get 5,150 Jamaicans involved in the sport of mountain biking, and if ever you should ask just why that specific number, he’ll say, “It’s a crazy idea.”

The owner of 5150 Trails, Lecky’s business name is derived from the police code of the same sequence which actually means ‘crazy’. His intentions are to simply create an experience for mountain bikers of all abilities and to spread the word about mountain biking.

“If you want to come and ride, I would provide you with a bike, gears and a place to ride,” he told Youthlink.

The day’s... read more

Teenagers and ‘sex for profit’

I am a 17-year-old female and I have a concern. I have been in a relationship with a young man for the last two years. I recently decided that I was ready to move the relationship to the next level, and so we engaged in safe sex. My issue is this: I did not realise that one of the intimate sessions was being videotaped. My ‘boyfriend’ is now suggesting that we publish this amateur video and earn money from it. I am terrified of this kind of exposure and would like to keep this a private matter. He even went as far as to identify persons (TV stars) who have made money... read more

Teens and substance use

I am a mother of a child in grade seven. While he was in grades four, five and six, he was what I would call the ‘absolutely best son’ a mother could have. His grades were excellent and his behaviour was commendable. Since starting high school, I realise that my son has been changing and I can hardly recognise him these days. Last week, I found a ‘spliff’ and matches in his uniform pocket and he told me that it belonged to his cousin. I realise that he is not being truthful and that he is stealing from everyone in the household. His grades have fallen and his... read more

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


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