Returning resident wants to improve community
When Eric Smalling left Jamaica more than 40 years ago, he knew he had to return some day; not just to enjoy his years as a retiree in tropical bliss, but to make an impact on the lives of those who now reside in his community of Farm district in south Manchester.
"I have never given upon Jamaica and my community. I have always wanted to return. And even though I was living in Canada, I knew more about what was happening here in Jamaica, than what was happening there in Canada," he said
On the eve of the new year, Smalling treated more than 70 children from the community with back-to-school items and other basic necessities as part of his outreach programmes.
"This is where I was born, and these things are very special to my heart. It is very important to give back. I just feel like it's a part of me to be charitable," Smalling said.
Work extremely hard
As a youngster, Smalling watched his parents worked extremely hard to ensure the well being of their children. He also knows the importance of helping others.
"My parents had nine of us and it was very hard for them. So I want to make sure that the children and the parents here can get help no matter how small. As a Christian, and I have been a Christian since age 14, with my mother playing a pivotal role in that, I feel it is something I need to do, especially for children," he told THE CENTRAL STAR.
Smalling added that his charitable spirit has trickled down to his own children as they are also excited and willing to be part of these projects, whether physically or otherwise.
"This area is often considered a neglected area, so my main aim is to see what I can do to make it better. I am not seeking fame or fortune, but this is home and even when people say I should have gone elsewhere, I tell them I want to stay and do my little part to improve the area," he said.
Although the children are first and foremost on his mind, Smalling is looking forward to starting a new initiative that will bring traction to the community and provide employment for some residents there.
"I don't know how strong my impact will be, but I am just doing my little part and hoping others will do the same. There is great potential here, and I want to see the resources and the infrastructure utilised a little more. If we can bring the people together through various initiatives, this community can be the envy of other communities in south Manchester," Smalling said.