Olivia Shaw, a woman of inspiration
"As a young adult, I aspired to become a doctor and even completed my bachelor of science in medical technology." That was the dream Olivia Shaw had ten years ago. Witnessing her mother's acts of kindness through volunteerism, inspired her to look beyond a white coat and reach out a helping hand. But before becoming the great woman she is today, she needed help, including with battling her own mental health demons, specifically being suicidal.
Shaw explained that she felt as though she was the cause of her family's financial constraints while she attended Westwood High School. Shaw became a loner, and began to premeditate her own self-destruction for a year before thinking of attempting suicide. But through faith, continuous prayer and by attending counselling sessions, she was able to overcome that obstacle. "This allowed me to find a new way of handling the challenges that I face in my life without burdening myself. The Serenity Prayer is also a constant reminder that I must accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can and to develop the wisdom to know the difference."
Rising from the ashes of her depression, she found her true purpose and has made the decision to build a career around being able to help others. Shaw set out to make an impact,
launching her own registered non-profit organisation - Women of Destiny Jamaica. It has been in operation since August 2015 and officially opened for business in October 2016, in the Mount Salem community.
BUILDING CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE
She was always involved in volunteering, throughout high school and university, through various service groups, but her journey began when she took on the challenge of becoming Miss St James Festival Queen in 2015 as a way. to build knowledge about her culture and empower women of her community of Mount Salem. Shaw says that her time as queen has been both fulfilling and inspiring. "It has provided me with a platform which allows me to reach a wider scope of women in the parish, granting me the privilege of inviting them to become a part of Women of Destiny a safe haven of sisters which provides them with resources that will aid in their purpose of awakening their journey."
Not only is Shaw the founder and executive director of Women of Destiny, but she is also a community development officer at the Social Development Commission. She has a genuine love for people and fulfilling her work in volunteerism through activities such as Read Across Jamaica Bay; Adopt a Sister mentorship programme, and the Tambourine Army March. "Volunteering is more than giving back to those in need, it's about connecting with persons, sowing positivity and love into others' lives thus also enriching yours. It's a journey that will lead you to uncovering your true purpose which will give you so much joy."