Uniting North Coast Communities through Sport

My favourite poem by Dr. Maya Angelou is “Phenomenal Woman”- each stanza ends with the phrase, “I am a woman, phenomenally”. The moment you meet Nikeisha Felix you are enveloped by her infectious personality, gregarious nature and generous spirit; she is simply a phenomenal woman, phenomenally.

At age eleven, Nikki moved with her family from St. Joseph to the tight knit north coast community of La Fillete; the change was evident, it was a rural life, farming and fishing- “there were no sporting activities in La Fillete when I was growing up other than football.”

It was during her time as a student at Curepe Junior Secondary (now St. Joseph Secondary) Ms. Jennifer Frank, a netball coach at the school encouraged her to become involved in netball. I was dubbed “the shorty who flies.”- describing herself on the court as determined, disciplined, and dominant in the air. She transitioned to playing club netball for Arima Ball Masters and by the time she was fifteen, recognising that there was a need for sport in her community Nikeisha began to coach other interested girls and women after school.

Nikeisha started her family and moved out of the village; however she was determined to raise her children in a way of life that was more aligned with spiritual values and a sense of community and as a result, she eventually returned to La Fillete. Due to a burning desire to provide an outlet for her children to become involved in sport she began to coach in the primary schools introducing different activities.

In 2014, Nikeisha founded The North Coast Sports Academy, a registered non-profit with a vision to develop a well-structured programme to help young people find a better path, a safe haven from the negative influences they encountered in their environment. She declares emphatically that her decision was inspired by God. “He gave me the mandate to be more, and to do more; my greatest satisfaction is not financial gain, but to help create joy, and being of service.”

The Academy is currently hosting its first North Coast Primary School Football Tournament every Friday from May12th – June 30th, 2017 through the support of The Ministry of Community Development, Central Medical Lab, and The Blanchisseuse Police Station. The three team tournament includes Brasso Seco RC which has a student population of thirty-five, La Fillete RC and Blanchisseuse Government Primary. “I wanted to create an avenue for the academy to build stronger relationships with the schools in the community and to facilitate access to our programmes.”

Nikeisha’s story is one of perseverance and unwavering faith in the North Coast youth. We are a fishing and agricultural community. Our villages have been affected by high unemployment, teenage pregnancies, high school dropouts and the drug trade. She is convinced that the Academy’s mission is to bring greater unity to the North Coast.

Even though we are small, fishing communities there are subtle rivalries among members of different villages; perhaps it has always been a matter of pride, but at times it presents challenges when seeking the best opportunities for advancement. When we started the North Coast Sports Academy we focused almost exclusively on bringing organised sporting activities to the community, but over the years we found that we had to innovate to attract and retain younger members.

As a result, we began to include an after school homework programme, environmental conservation, workshops on career development as we felt that we had to be more holistic in our approach in empowering the children. Nikeisha believes that there have been incremental changes in the lives of the children, especially where attitudes and disposition toward authority is concerned. They are much more positive, and believe in themselves and we are encouraged because our emphasis will always be on the spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of our young people.

Contact: Nikeisha Felix 744-1245| nikeishafelix@gmail.com

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