Adrianna strives with COJO
Unfortunate circumstances act as a catalyst that can undermine the natural sequence of life. When faced with dire situations, one is forced to become so uncomfortable that there is no other choice but to change. Whether an individual rises above their circumstances or sinks from the weight of it is solely up to their perspective. For Adrianna Parchment, recipient of Children of Jamaica Outreach Inc (COJO) scholarship, being a ward of the state and living in 17 different locations by age 20, did not quell her burning desire to initiate change and become a beacon for those who are also in need of help.
"In my life, I didn't have my parents. My three sisters and I did not have a stable place to stay and that is when we became wards of the state," said Parchement, who attended the 24th staging of the COJO Annual Scholarship Gala and Awards last Saturday as a representative of the recipients from the Case Ward of the State.
Parchment was encouraged by her case worker to apply for the COJO scholarship after successfully completing Hampton High School. "I had no idea how I was going to get into university at that point. I had nothing to lose so why not apply?" She stated. A month later, she received a call from her mother telling her she had received the scholarship.
Parchment's father died when she was 13. "He was the sole provider for my sisters and myself. Since then, it has been a challenge. We have been moving around with relatives and no one could adequately provide for us," said Parchment. Her mother was not in the position to assist and so CDA, and now by extension, COJO, financed her education from the very first year until her final year which will be next year.
It was only after attending the award ceremony for the scholarship that she learned more about the organisation. "When I went there, that is how I really got a feel of COJO and what they were about. They contribute yearly to the education of tertiary students and lower-school students," said Parchment. Not only was she ecstatic to receive such a blessing, she was also surprised that there were people who are willing to aid persons like herself to carve out a meaningful future through education. "I didn't know these type of people were here offering these services. They believe you are this person that can make a change and you have potential. They see it in you and said, 'Yes, I am here to help you'," she explained.
"I have lived in 17 different households. I realised for myself that if you don't get things done, nobody is going to do it for you," emphasised an eloquent and vibrant Parchment. She said that there will be charitable organisations and persons who will want to help, but the onus is on you to make your own dreams come true, "What pushes me is that I have to get up everyday and I have to make a conscious effort to live my life the way I want to live it," said Parchment.
COJO's mantra dictates that every child is powerful and each child should realise that they have something that can propel them to change their environment and promote change.