Tag Archives: Centre

Birthing of a Caribbean Social Entrepreneur

*A Guest Feature Article*

Nick at the Financial Coaching Centre


My rent is due, my loans are more than half of my salary and I feel like a failure at my age. Lord help me!  How did I end up here? How am I going to get through this?


Nicholas Dean of Trinidad and Tobago is no stranger to such a predicament.  It is in this exact situation that he found himself a decade and a half ago. That experience gave him the motivation he needed to build a thriving financial coaching practice.  Nick was forced to revisit each of his money mistakes and blunders, take responsibility for them and try to correct every last one. What resulted were several home-grown strategies that he researched, tested and refined – eventually attaining something many of us aspire to – a clear path to financial freedom. Nick then began to wonder: “Maybe there are others out there just like me?” This new perspective gave way to a chain of events that led him to qualify as a certified financial advisor and start his own business.

Today the Financial Coaching Centre offers a series of programmes with its mantra “to help people feel better about their money.” There, Nick uses his vast  experience in the Banking and Insurance industries along with his qualifications, helping others.

Services include: Advice on Demand, Financial Coaching, Customized Financial Blueprints, Small Business Mentorship, Workshops and seminars ranging from Fast- track Debt Elimination to Wealth Building.

Nick indulging in the outdoors – one of his many passions.


Nick also gives freely from his broad financial knowledge through radio, television, the Internet and printed word. He has over 30,000 followers of his fortnightly financial Q&A column titled “Ask Nick” asknick.catholicnews-tt.net

In his own words, when asked what is his greatest joy in running your business he replied: “apart from the absolute freedom of working for myself, it is that moment when you see a client experience an epiphany after they learn something that you know will transform their life and financial future forever.”

E-mail Nick at  NickAdvice@gmail.com Phone: 1-868-724-6425 or Visit his webpage: www.FinancialCoachingCentre.com

Once upon a time – no, hour – in Trench Town Jamaica

Trench Town: The birthplace of rock steady & reggae music, home of the legendary Bob Marley. Original name – Trench Pen after owner Daniel Power Trench – an Irish immigrant. Originally 400 acres of land used for rearing livestock. Trench Town is an inner city community in the West Kingston area, located just a short distance from the infamous Tivoli Gardens.

Bob’s life was perhaps more than just sitting in Culture Yard and honing his art. He walked the streets outside those walls. He stood by the street corners, he “reasoned” with friends from the tenement yards. So this post is a little less about Bob the Legend and a lot more about Bob the man with a plan and a van – living in Trench Town, the community. This is a tribute to the tolerant and friendly persons of Trenchtown. I now present to you: one hour in the life of Trench Town – the things Bob saw – and will never see.

The sight of goats roaming the streets is a regular sight, so they must be included in this tribute to the community.

The Tenement yard next door to Bob’s famous Culture Yard

A very pleasant friend. He shared a few things about Bob’s life with me.

Mobile chicken and corn soup vendor

He was kind enough to sell one of the little girls soup on credit

This youngster shows us how corn should be eaten

This little girl occupies her time with her craft. She wants to be a doctor.

Motivational words on the wall of the Trench Town Reading Centre. A very inspirational message for the inner city youth.

These youngsters enjoy some time reading. It is great to see that the boys are also spending some time reading.

 The children took this photo. I think they did a great job.

The children play jumprope in the yard. I tried but apparently I lost my skills.

Yes she can change the world. Her dream is to become a doctor.

Of course I must acknowledge the man who brought us all to Trench Town, Bob Marley.

I promise that I will dedicate a post to Culture Yard and Bob’s memory soon. Thank you to the community of Trench Town for allowing us to come in by our hundreds each year to honour the memory of one of their sons. I have an early morning appointment so I really must run!

Saturday’s menu-“Burgher”, no fries: A youth concert in Burgher Gully community

in-ner cit-y: The area near the centre of the city, esp, when associated with social and economic problems (google)

On Saturday I took the bus down to East Kingston, to a small inner-city community called Burgher Gully to attend the Youth Leaders Concert. I was accompanying a friend – Kate – to the concert which was organised by the NGO – Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.).

After a typically late start, the concert finally got underway. It was refreshing to witness the enthusiasm and talent of children ranging from age 2 to 18. They drummed, sang and acted in two dramas designed to highlight racism and prostitution. The main event of the evening however was the dancing. It was clear that these youth put a lot of hard work in practicing their routines and the outcome was nothing short of captivating. On a point of reflection, I do notice that the Jamaican has a different rhythm and movement of body in response to the beat of music, especially when compared perhaps to persons from the Eastern Caribbean. I was bit disturbed however when a five-year old girl won a dancing competition with some gyrations fit only for a married adult locked in a bedroom. Simply my perspective of course. I must say great job to the MC for the evening who did all in her power to ensure the youth enjoyed an educational, fun and clean night out. The atmosphere was happy, the night sky clear, the breeze cool and gentle with the sound of music & laughter everywhere.

What I found out about the venue was as interesting as the event itself. The space is also the Eastern Peace Centre of the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF). With the support of UNICEF, the Burgher Gully Project was established and assisted 45 youth who were out of school by providing structured activities for them over a three-month period, thus keeping them occupied and off of the streets. Sadly the problems these inner city youth face have not gone away altogether, but it is helpful to see organisations like Y.O.U., D.R.F. and UNICEF continue to reach out. Moreover, it is gratifying to know that my organisation, Cuso International, supports the work of Y.O.U. & D.R.F. through capacity building and knowledge sharing. Thank you to the children of Burgher Gully for a fantastic Saturday evening.

Educating the Inner City

The approach to education in the Caribbean has often time been “one size fits all”. There has been growing awareness however of the importance of understanding individual styles of learning and incorporating this knowledge into the education process. A recent visit to the Ideal Enhancement Centre on Shortwood Road, Kingston 8 proved a refreshing experience. The Centre was started in 2008 by Principal Cynthia Grenyion as part of a Masters Research project and serves the Grants Pen, Shortwood and HalfWay Tree area. From my brief visit there, I can say that the Centre places the individual at the centre of the learning process and champions the importance of the home – school partnership. The walls are covered with creative charts and posters designed to engage and capture the imagination.There’s an exciting menu of events planned for the next few months so feel free to call for more information.

Every Mickle mek a Muckle

Today I am going to test your powers of creativity to see whether by the end of this post you can connect the dots between a seemingly disconnected series of events. The proverb “Every mickle mek a muckle” interpreted in a financial context means that few pennies can add up. In this case, the “mickle” refers to random vignettes and the “muckle” to the resulting painting of this day in the history of my life.

Society is bawling out. To some it must seem that what they thought was the light at the end of the tunnel (after the last general election) was merely a firefly lighting an inch of the miles of darkness ahead. A beef patty that cost me JMD 90 before, now costs me JMD 105.

I listened to the news recently with a sense of dread, disgust and puzzlement. Two stories, featured on different dates – one of the possible murder of a fellow Trinidadian countrywoman and the other – the story of a mother who held down her girl child so she could be raped by a man. To more additions to the growing list of horrors gracing the airwaves in the past months. The last few weekends found me presenting and facilitating two groups of persons, spreading awareness on the rights of the child and child abuse. This took a lot of energy out of me, it’s hard not to get a bit emotional about the issue of child sexual abuse. Will my efforts make a difference?

Three weeks ago I hit the airwaves (Double Standards – Newstalk 93fm) with a fellow colleague to give an outsiders’ perspective on events in Jamaica – leading up to Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary.  One question  asked – whether we thought one person can make a difference. “Yes”, I replied. Why did I say this? Here’s why…

One week prior to the interview, I contributed to a parenting workshop at the Ideal Enhancement Centre on Shortwood Road.  Many of the parents hailed from inner city communities, Grants Pen & Shortwood areas. It was meaningful to see them get useful tips from each other and to witness their realization that the challenges were common ones. In a few short hours, individuals from diverse households were empowered to do something differently in parenting their child. If even one parent gets it right, the reward will be felt into another generation. Inspiring isn’t it? So, in conclusion – “Yes” – one person can make a difference. Interestingly, in the group of about 25 persons, maybe 6 were men – 1 being the photographer.

During the interview, we were also asked for our thoughts on dancehall music, but I digress, let’s consider that fodder for a post all its own!

On a positive note, mangoes are in season. They are everywhere. My tree and front garden is overwhelmed by mangoes. If I can figure out to how to preserve them all, I’ll make a mint. With the changes in taxation, I am not looking forward to June’s grocery bill. Not to mention I plan to start living in semi-darkness to save on electricity costs that are creeping upward. So over the next few weeks I may start studying the visual physiology of bats to see what I can learn.

Anyway it could be worse, so thank God it’s the Caribbean I’m living in. Lots of sun, sea, reggae and soca to soothe the living pains away. Of course if all else fails then I’ll have to check out the ATM of the Caribbean – Trinidad & Tobago!