Addicted to Service - Volunteerism is heartbeat of female first Top Cop
Being awarded the very first female Lasco Top Cop was a feat in itself, but 13 years later, Nadine Grant-Brown has also left an indelible mark in the field of volunteerism.
The 47-year-old veteran law enforcer was the recipient of the 2016 Public Sector Volunteer of the Year Award, presented during the recent Council of Voluntary Social Services National Volunteer Awards.
Grant-Brown is the founder of the programme, Eve for Change - short for: Educate, Validate, Elevate for; Caring, Helping, Advocating, Nurturing, Giving and Educating - which is necessary to preserve family life, improve community and rebuild our nation under God."
"I began volunteering at age 20 by undertaking outreach programmes. I was collecting money, food and clothes for those most in need in my community," she told The Gleaner.
"The feeling was quite gratifying. To know that I am from humble beginnings, but I was able to extend myself by giving back by way of my own resources to persons in my community where I worked and lived. To impact their lives in a positive way, was and still is a great feeling," she added.
The St Elizabeth native and deputy superintendent in charge of administration is a mother to two sons and a daughter.
15-YEAR-OLD ACT OF KINDNESS
To date, a 15-year-old act of kindness rendered to an old lady in Westmoreland is Grant-Brown's fondest memory in her lengthy history of volunteerism.
"In 2001, there was this elderly lady in Westmoreland, Miss Ivy, who was in need of a home. Her dwelling at the time was in a horrible state, so I wrote to then Minister of Housing Karl Blythe who aided in getting the necessary material to build her a new structure. We got the land space and I personally went to hotels in the Negril area to get some furniture. We got a bed, mattress, dresser, among other stuff."
A programme co-founded along with Sergeant Balfore Gore in Westmoreland, dubbed 'Adopt a Needy Student programme', which saw several students receive assistance with books, uniform, lunch money and mentorship, also has longevity in her memory bank.
As a COP (community-oriented police), Grant-Brown has humbly changed the course of several lives she has encountered in her personal and professional capacities.
Twenty-six-year-old Darren Miller was first to attest to this, as he recalled the early 2000s when the relationship with his mother took a bad turn at the age of 12.
"My mother took me to Savanna-la-Mar Police Station for them to take me into a place of safety, as we were having difficulties beyond repair. She (Grant-Brown) defused the situation and came to a compromise which saw me finishing primary and high schools. I was partially living with her at one point. She cared for me, provided me with necessities for school. I still call her mom until this day."
Seymour Ratigan, assistant manager of the Manning Child Care Facility in St Elizabeth, got acquainted with Grant-Brown when she led a group of volunteers to the facility to interact with the boys at Christmas time.
It was at this particular outing that she laid the foundation through mentorship, which would eventually mould and develop another young life.
VERY RELIABLE PERSON
"She is very relatable and her approach is from a motherly perspective. She readily avails herself to serve the cause. We had this youngster that wasn't the brightest at the time, and she reached him in many ways. She got him to do various assignments at Black River Police Station, which significantly aided with his self-development. Any recognition she is given is well deserved," Ratigan told The Gleaner.
Grant-Brown continues to play an integral role in Eve for Change and is the programme's main sponsor.
The programme is in full gear and falls under the umbrella of the St Elizabeth Community Safety and Security Branch, an arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The programme identifies young people between the ages of 17 and 20 years old, who have either completed or failed to complete high school and is unable to gain employment or pursue further studies.
Of her nearly three decades of giving, Grant-Brown has amassed several international and local accolades, but is quick to admit that none has ever come to mind prior to the deed.
What tomorrow may bring she's not certain, but she foresees a lifetime in the field, telling The Gleaner: "Volunteerism/outreach is an integral part of my life. Through my job, it's never difficult to choose any situation or person to assist, once it comes to my attention and backed up by my philosophy that 'Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced'. My aim is to serve God and humanity in all that I do, through work and my personal sphere of influence."