Ricardo Burke transforming lives with ‘Yutes 4 Change’
Three years ago, Ricardo Burke had a dream to help children on Walker's Avenue in the Gregory Park, St Catherine, community who were in need. He walked the streets of the community asking for donations to help feed the children.
Burke said that some people in the community gave a helping hand, while others mocked and jeered him.
"I had a job, and I left it because I said it was taking up too much of my time. After seeing two children in my community not attending school because their parents couldn't afford it, it just made me want to help in some way," he said.
He later started the Yutes 4 Change Foundation, which is aimed at transforming the lives of children in Gregory Park.
To kick-start his foundation, Burke wrote a compelling letter and sent it to every business place he could think of. He said that ever since that time, he has been getting help from many local and international entities that have provided computers and books.
Burke told THE STAR that he hosted a community fair for the children and then later, a feeding programme.
"Sometimes when the pressure comes, I want to give up, but I have to continue. I made a promise to God that I would not work, I will sacrifice my work to help people," he said.
Sheryl Francis, a resident of Gregory Park, is glad Burke started the foundation.
"Mi feel good because my seven-year-old daughter a benefit from it. It is very good. Right now, it a uplift the community," Francis said.
Meanwhile, Burke said that he would not able to keep the foundation going without the assistance of a supportive team. He said they share a common philosophy that everyone, irrespective of their station in life, can achieve.
At the age of 31, Burke said that he is pursuing an associate degree at the Excelsior Community College. He said that he is grateful for this opportunity because he was a high-school dropout who only passed one subject.
"Sometimes I think it is not real, but I am humbled, and I give God all the praise," he said.
With the desire to positively impact the lives of more people, Burke is hoping that he will one day be able to spread his wings into other areas.
"I want to own a motor car so that I can go to other parishes and share the vision with people to do the same and better their lives and community. People have been asking me to come to their area, but the lack of transport is setting me back. I hope to get one soon and continue this journey," he said.