Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Susan Kinnane with Deborah NOW aids young women

Published:Monday | March 6, 2017 | 3:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Susan Kinnane
Susan Kinnane
Susan Kinnane
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"If you find in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded," Maya Angelou's words and Susan Kinnane founder of the Deborah Now foundation's mantra.

After getting a vision of women playing in a dirty pool of water, she sought advice from a friend who suggested that she reach out to other women and create a healthy space for them to share issues and access support. So five years ago, Deborah NOW Ministries was formed.

Named after Deborah, the only female judge of Israel in Bible days. She was sought after for her wise counsel, and is famous for leading the Israelites into battle. Her story is fascinating and inspiring to Kinnane. The NOW is an acronym that means Nurturing Our Women.

This is a non-profit organisation that nurtures women who face dire circumstances. They highlight women for their resilience and steady progression as overcomers. The group makes it their duty to encourage young women to pursue their life goals. Thus, they focus on care giving, entrepreneurship, as well as academic achievement.

"We have annually awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to exemplary tertiary and GSAT students. We have also specially recognised outstanding community care givers and entrepreneurs with more than $10,000 in gift vouchers and a weekend stay at a hotel. Each year, our flagship event is a conference that brings together women and men from different walks of life. This is usually free of cost so as to make our programmes more accessible," Kinnane told Flair.

She noted that this year the ministry out of a concern for the girls at Kellits High School, hosted a missions outreach geared towards mentoring and empowering these young ladies. This was due to the national attention the institution gained because of the girl who dropped out due to underage pregnancy. Something that Kinnane was familiar as she had her first child as a teenager. Thus this is something that hit close to home. The group teamed up with social worker, counsellors, motivational speaker as well as volunteers to have session to 35 young women.

Kinnane's aim is to give women an outlet. As a victim of physical and sexual abuse, this further motivated her to help and protect young women.

"It (the abuse) was like a fuel; a fire to create a society that is sensitive to the needs of our children. My experience has propelled me to push for an awareness among young girls that they are not alone. I want my organisation to be a springboard whereby women and girls can access their rights - the right to an education, the right to be safe, the right to be financially stable, the right to accomplish any dream that they aspire towards," she told Flair.

If she could give one piece of advice to young women, it would be, "You are created for God's glory. Your bodies, minds, and souls are to glorify God. Anything that seeks to belittle, trap, or ruin that glory is not of God. Be wise and seek help."

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com