All Jaylon Best wants for Christmas is to bring joy to those less fortunate.
Jaylon, ten, has been doing so with a toy drive, every December 25 for the past five years. He would like to expand his activities one day.
When he was four, his father died in a car accident and that December his mother asked what he wanted for Christmas. He answered to give out gifts to people of the community because he loves to share and spread “good vibes” around his neighbourhood in Tacarigua.
He also thought of doing a toy drive because he has seen the Tacarigua Youth Explorers and liked what the group was doing with their own at Christmas. But his mother, Janelle Best, did not have the money for such a big project so instead, she asked if he could team up with the group.
That first year they bought gifts, snacks and juices to make party bags and added their contributions to those of the Youth Explorers.
Since then Jaylon and his mother got other people involved in donating items and money. These include neighbours, family members, friends and even business people. He said he talked to people in shops near his home, and on the street to tell them about the drive and ask them to donate. However, he said his mother worried about him talking to strangers so while he talks to the people he knows, she helps by trying to get business owners to donate or give discounts.
He said every Christmas Day from 8 am, and sometimes earlier, he goes on a music truck at the front of the procession organised by the Youth Explorers, goes on the microphone and invites everyone to come outside and party with them. He said people come out in their night clothes to dance and sing and some bring out gifts for the children.
He said last year a neighbour who works with the fire service brought a fire truck and they went from street to street distributing party bags before going to the St Mary’s Children’s Home to spend a few hours playing games and singing with the children.
He added that the children from the home look forward to seeing him every year.
“It makes me feel happy, putting a smile on people’s faces and making them feel happy throughout the day, even for the people who don’t have enough money to buy gifts. And I like to go to the St Mary’s Home, putting smiles on every single child’s face and spending time with them.”
Jaylon said one day he wants to do more and on a bigger scale, or maybe branch out on his own. In the meantime, he persuaded his aunt to help him and this year he is having a Christmas party in his grandparents’ yard. He has invited neighbours, family, friends, and classmates and intends to go carolling around the neighbourhood.
“I would like to do it every year but it’s just the money. I’m trying to save as much money as I can to do the Christmas party.”
He said when his mother gave him money for lunch or snacks he would only spend a little and save the rest. He was also doing chores for extra money. Fortunately, his aunt agreed to cook food for and help him organise the party.
Asked if he wanted anything else for Christmas, Jaylon said, “I would rather get a $10 gift or something. I don’t want anything expensive. I prefer if they give it to the toy drive.”