Shawn Lawes, the centre back for Waterhouse FC, has never seen his mother.
The reality has taught Lawes compassion. Compassion which he has, for the last four years, extended to the homeless people who are strewn on the streets of downtown Kingston and Half-Way Tree.
Around Easter and Christmas each year, Lawes would load up his vehicle with meals and distribute them to the homeless people. That tradition was, however, put on hold this year as his team battle through the play-offs of the Red Stripe Premier League
“For the past four years I do some charity work, where I cook and drive around and feed the homeless at the end of year and around Easter,” Lawes told STAR Sports in a recent interview. “Because of the match on Easter Monday I haven’t been able to do it yet, but as soon as the competition is over I will do it.”
He said: “Growing up without a mother, I could have easily been in their position if it wasn’t for my father and grandmother. So it is something that means a lot to me.”
According to Lawes, whenever he walks the streets of Half-Way Tree and downtown Kingston, there is one thing that always flashes across his mind when a homeless person comes up to him.
“I always think they might not have had mothers and that is why they came out the way they have,” Lawes said. “I know a lot of people out there who don’t know their father and mother.”
He continued: “Not knowing your mother is a tough thing when you are growing up. When you are at parent- teacher meeting and your friends have moms and dads there, and when you look you see my grandmother turn up, your friends tease you and these things. I really appreciated my grandmother being there for me but it did some damage at a tender age.”
As he continues his quest to realise his dreams of playing in top-flight football in England, Lawes will also be encouraging his fellow players in the RSPL to give back to their communities.
“Everyone can give back in their own little way. As I say, is my own money I use to cook and feed the homeless,” Lawes said.
Waterhouse won the first leg of their semi-final matchup against defending Champions Arnett Gardens FC on Monday. They lead 1-0 going into the second leg next Monday.