Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Volunteers for change

Published:Monday | March 9, 2020 | 12:14 AM

Novelist, writer and designer Edith Wharton once said, “There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it”.

Shining a light of faith and hope for girls through the provision of an open and safe place is Britney Bowen.

Distinguished by her calm disposition and warm, engaging smile, Bowen appears to be your average 20 year old woman: beautiful, smart, filled with youthful exuberance and promise.

But she is anything but typical.

Blazing trails in the field of advocacy, at just 18, the Clarendon native from Effortville volunteered to make a difference by creating the Women for Change Empowerment Organisation.

A sales, marketing and administrative assistant, she spends her days working assiduously to build her career at Shadrock Enterprises Limited.

But off the clock, she is a beacon of a positive future for young girls in children’s homes close to her community. She also assists young women to grow emotionally as well as to becoming financial independent.

For every journey, there is a backstory. What was once a rooted prerequisite for the world of pageantry for Bowen, blossomed into a passionate tree of life.

“I wanted to participate in JCDC’s Miss Clarendon Festival Queen competition. But in order to be a contestant, you have to be involved in the community. So I started my own organisation, my own little club,” she told Flair.

The aim of the Women for Change Empowerment Organisation, according to Bowen, is to educate, motivate and empower women of all ages.

Happiness for everyone

Currently, there are 15 ladies who are part of the organisation.

So far, funding has been the main challenge for the organisation, but she remains determined, ambitious and driven in her pursuit of happiness for everyone.

She acknowledges that persons have step forward to help, a move she appreciated.

Additionally, the group was a part of a training programme by FHI 360, a United States-based a nonprofit human development organization, and a local partner.

“There, we graduated and were shortlisted for a grant for funding,” she interjected.

The outcome is still pending due to the crime and violence plaguing the parish.

The outspoken Bowen shared that she is very passionate about service and loves catering to those in need.

“Volunteering means everything to me. It makes me so happy to be able to help others. It’s definitely something I can see myself doing forever. It doesn’t matter the hours involved, I’m dedicated to the cause,” she said.

Recently, the nonprofit organisation celebrated its two year anniversary by giving back to the St Monica’s Home for Children in Chapelton.

The Garvey Maceo High School’s Interact Club jumped on board and accompanied the group to put smiles on the young faces.

She plans to return on March 15, 2020 to spend some more time with the children.

“They are at a tender age, but they have a lot going on in their little minds, so we get them to relax. We talk to them about certain issues they are facing. They can choose to do so among the grouping or they can take us aside and confide in us,” She continued.

“We go there to let them know that they are loved, appreciated and deserve to be here, to take up positive space in the world.”

A lover of music and reading, Bowen is the assistant public relations officer for the Clarendon Youth Council, an advocate for Talk Up Yout’ and a member of the National Integrity Action Jamaica.

Her advice to anyone whose desire is volunteerism, “If this is something you are passionate about, then go for it”.

Story by Krysta Anderson

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com