Jason Westcott from Richwood looks more like the boy next door than one’s perception of a Mr SA Junior finalist, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a looker… or a serious contender.
With his blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, an open face and a ready smile, it’s easy to understand why he is one of five finalists.
Couple this with his sense of community and deep commitment to helping others and one begins to understand why, come April, he’ll be standing on the stage as one of the top national contenders.
The contest, organised by Pageants South Africa, judges how well contestants fare in the charity drives, and Jason has already shown his ability in drumming up support for needy causes.
As one of five national finalists, Jason was given two charities to support: the Happy Days Foundation and Deskbags. He says, “The aim of supporting these foundations is to encourage all the finalists to take part in charity projects.”
His role included raising funds to buy packs of Mimi pads made by the Happy Days Foundation. They will be distributed to girls in poor communities.
Organisers are hoping to distribute at least 12 500 packs of pads with the ultimate goal to make up 600 000 packs.
Jason says they will also be raising funds to buy and distribute bags that fold out into desks by the NGO Deskbags.
They will be going to communities that do not have school desks or a place at home to do their homework other than sitting on the floor.
“Through this charity, we will be able to give someone the gift of a school bag that turns into a temporary desk or solid writing surface. Sadly, this is something that many kids take for granted that these underprivileged are not afforded,” says Jason.
He is no newcomer to volunteering and helping the needy.
With his girlfriend, Bonita Denton, the pair turned Christmas into a time of goodwill and good memories for children at the Andrew Murray Home for underprivileged kids in Wellington.
They spent several weeks collecting food and gifts from the Boland community, where they once lived, to give to the children.
Recent “imports” to Richwood, to where they moved just over a month ago, Jason and Bonita say they are still trying to find their feet and adapt to a more “urban” way of life.
“It’s a huge difference living in a small dorp like Wellington and coming here, but we want to make a difference,” says Jason.
Already, Jason says he has enlisted for charity work at several organisations and churches and is spending this year as a gap year before deciding what to study – his preferred vocations being teaching, traffic enforcement or business.
As diverse as these three choices are, Jason hopes to do something that will allow him to climb the ladder of success quickly while continuing to help communities.
Why does he think the Mr SA Junior judges should choose him? His speedy answer is, “I see my future and a future in general in this country as helping people. I feel that is my vocation in life.”
Asked as to whether he thinks the choice has as much to do with looks as it does with the goodwill that finalists need to spread, Jason answers modestly, “They don’t look at body physique, but I try to keep myself as fit as possible and do bodysurfing and ice skating which work different parts of the body to keep myself in good shape.”
And, with a twinkle from his blue eyes he poses for the camera.