Wednesday, 29 August 2012

YOUTH ARISE: College Access opening doors to new possibilities

PLAY TIME: Burton and Gordon star as young lovers in Boots.

Viewers of Boots, a clever and cleverly titled new Jamaican short film currently playing on YouTube, are not only drawn in by the charm of the pair of young leads – Kevoy Burton and Pash-Gay Gordon – but also by its core message of sexual responsibility at any age. And that’s precisely what College Access, the youthful team behind the production, is driving at.

“We’ve realized that young people today are just being regular young people, and a lot of times that can lead to trouble,” explains Burton, one of the main founders of the group. “So we wanted to create projects that would show the older generations that we are also serious about important issues and are not playing around.”

Largely made up of open-minded undergrads of Manchester’s Northern Caribbean University, College Access was born earlier this year out of a need by Burton and colleagues to create a media entity that would train its focus sharply on motivating and spurring other Jamaican youngsters to responsible action. Creativity and inspiration are the hallmarks of what they do. “It’s really an edutainment thing for us,” Burton tells TALLAWAH, noting that while CA is a big group, it boasts five core members who oversee everything from the production of new videos to the planning of events. “We try to put out positive messages, but in an entertaining way.”

Already they have seen their hard labour bear fruit, with a triumph in the film category of Heineken’s 2012 Inspire competition this past April. With Burton at the helm, the group walked away with an attractive cheque of $250,000 and a renewed determination to fulfil their purpose. That now includes expanding their efforts into the areas of charity and outreach. “So far, we’ve been able to do things like feed the homeless and visit children’s homes.”

Looking ahead, they want to do even more. And in the face of present financial limitations, the team is in the process of wooing corporate sponsors who recognize the value of their work and are willing to come on board. “Right now we are based at NCU, but the plan is to venture out to UWI and UTech and into the wider working world,” the team explains. “We want [College Access] to have as big an impact as possible on the society.”

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