On May 12, 2016, Melissa Farquharson from Kingston Jamaica graduated with a Master’s degree in sports management from the University of Tennessee.
Her journey is nothing short of hope and inspiration. And what makes this so inspiring, especially for someone coming from the “Ghetto” Kingston, Jamaica. Growing up in this environment is “supposed” to be a hindrance instead of an advantage.
The reality is that many teenagers living in “Ghettos” of Kingston, Jamaica, suffer from low esteem. Many have lost hope.
But Melissa, driven, ambitious and with strong support from her parents, didn’t allow that to stop her from making the most of the limited opportunities that she had. She used her love for sports as a way to expand her horizon.
Her parents recognized her potential and at 13 Melissa was sent to Multicare Foundation camp. The camp coordinator recognized that she had potential and offered financial assistance and other resources. This allowed her to attend the University of Technology in Kingston Jamaica where she graduated with a degree in mechanical technology.
With a degree in hand one would have thought that Melissa would be able to get a job. But like many recent graduates in Jamaica, there were no jobs -another obstacle to climb for Melissa.
This is where her passion for sports made the difference
A meeting with thepresident of the Jamaica Basketball Association, led to a job offer. She accepted the offer working on small projects. Perhaps this was one of the best decisions of her life–eventually she was recommended to the Global Sports Mentorship Programme, a programme with the University of Tennessee.
A few obstacles along the way but armed with a Master’s degree in sports management, this young woman from Kingston, Jamaica, will begin another chapter of her life.
So let me close with Melissa’s words, taken from the original story carried on the UT website.
“Girls in Jamaica often grow up with abusive mothers and absent fathers. As a result, they suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of self-respect.
Many of them are also suffering from extreme poverty and an overall sense of feeling beaten down everywhere they turn in life. I believe sports and education are the best ways to prevent another hopeless generation of women.
“That’s why I got my master’s degree—I have to help myself to help others,”
Congrats Melissa, job well done!
Original story at the University of Tennessee website.