Danil Denis is on a mission. The twenty-year-old from Gros-Islet is determined to make a positive impact on the lives of the youth in his community through his organization, Youth United Sports and Social Charity Foundation. The group has been in existence for close to two years now but they have already had a major influence on their targeted demographic. This year alone they have hosted several activities including a soccerama, family fun day and an Easter camp. I was fascinated by what could have motivated one who is quite young himself to undertake such a massive responsibility. Denis said it was a calling he discovered one day when his best friend’s grandmother invited him to the last place he thought he would ever visit.
“She invited me to crusade and I laughed my heart out because I would never think of me going to church,” he recalled. “I had my own carnival band and all that sort of stuff. I used to have a lot of pool parties so it’s like the same events but in a different way. A preacher from Trinidad was preaching and he was from the ghetto also. So when he started giving his testimony and how God changed his life, it was a similar lifestyle. I accepted Christ in my life, started going to church, started reading the bible, started to pray more, and then I started seeing it really manifest and God changed my life.”
It was then that Denis realized that there was so much more that could be done with his newfound belief.
“I believe that God laid it upon my heart to really check up on the young people. So I decided to do a lot of events. With the young people coming up it’s so difficult to gather them in something positive or something righteous. So I believe that doing events is something they look forward to because you know they’re not really focused on if you do a seminar and that sort of stuff.”
His events are done with a twist however, reflecting a departure from his former lifestyle.
“At the events we don’t play the secular music like what the young people are accustomed of hearing. We play a lot of gospel reggae and that sort of dancehall. Gospel music. It’s the same rhythm but different lyrics. It’s very good, although they don’t know the lyrics but they dance with the rhythm and it’s just good being unique, especially in these times because everybody seems to have a specific thing. Everybody is dressed the same way or looks the same way. Doing the gospel events and everything in the name of Christ, that’s been amazing. And you really touch the lives of young people.”
Lately his focus has been on one youngster in particular, baby Harrison, who is currently in France undergoing treatment for leukemia. The group is planning a jungle tour on October 7th to raise funds for the stricken infant.
“We’re going to have bushwhackers, a coaster, and a mini bus. It’s going to leave the Gros-Islet playing field from about 9 am. It’s a jungle tour so we’re doing a round the island. It’s sixty-five dollars for the ticket and everyone will get a snack box and most likely persons are going to bring their food and stuff along. Although we might have a few snacks on sale but the intention is to get persons to bring out their own stuff so it would be shared as more of a family atmosphere because now it’s so difficult with the financial crisis. A lot of young people would like to come but after they pay their ticket probably they won’t have money to buy stuff. So the intention is to get everybody to bring something,” he explained.
The operation and treatment cost in excess of forty thousand dollars and Denis knows it is a lofty goal but he’s mindful of the importance of sowing seeds of kindness.
“I think making a donation as part of the youth club would be amazing. I’ve never done it before, donating to someone in need, but I don’t know when my family or someone close to me might be in need so I just felt that God laid it upon my heart to get the public involved and it’s for a worthy cause. You don’t know who it could strike next.”
Denis may be the president but he concedes that it is in name only. He points out that he has gotten a tremendous amount of support from his fellow worshippers at the Glad Tidings Pentecostal as well as some close friends. He is still amazed at all that has transpired in his life since he made his decision.
“It’s been about a year and seven months since I accepted Christ. (During that time) someone just called and told me there was an interview for me at the Body Holiday. That’s where I work now. After three months I got promoted. I was in South America doing ministry last year and I just came from St Vincent doing it also. So God has been doing some great things in my life and I know it’s Him. And I just want to thank Him for the opportunity. I didn’t do very well in school and that’s why I thank God for changing my life so that I could help out a lot of persons, encourage a lot of young people.”
He wants no accolades and no rewards. Just the satisfaction of knowing he has done his part to affect change in his community. “At the end of the day I do it from my heart and I enjoy every second of it.”