Thu | Oct 19, 2017

Families reunite in Beecher Town as Overseas Jamaicans give back to their community

Published:Saturday | August 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Members of the Skyliner Marching Band in action .
Residents enjoying a game of dominoes.
Fay Grocia, BTGBA president flanked by her brothers, Paul and Nicholas Grocia, members of the Association.
Kids getting ice cream.
Fay Grocia (second left), BTGBA president, with other members of the Association. From left: Brittany Hind, Mornice Miller, Alleen Rattigan, Simone Miller and Errol Wright. The little boy in front is Nathaniel McDonald.
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Residents in the South East St Ann community of Beecher Town and its environs benefited for the third time when the Beecher Town Give Back Association (BTGBA) held their annual reunion in the community.

The BTGBA consists of former residents of Beecher Town who now reside abroad and have taken it upon themselves to give back to the community from which they came.

President of the BTGBA, Fay Grocia, in explaining the rationale behind the efforts of the Association, quoted Mohammed Ali, telling Family and Religion, "Our service to others and to our community is the rent we pay for our time here on earth."

"So, once again, the BTGBA is paying it forward," Grocia added. "Seeing the smile from a child or a thankful person shows that you are really making a difference in someone's life and that's the greatest feeling in the world."

The reunion was spread over four days, from July 30 to August 2 and involved several activities geared at the entire family: from the elderly to the babies.

It began on July 30 with a health and wellness day at the Beecher Town Methodist Church, and continued on July 31 with a meet-and-greet day and food distribution, followed by a free gospel concert. The big event, the family fun day and dance was on August 1 and a church service on August 2, at which two high-school scholarships were awarded.

These scholarships are reserved for students drawn from the communities of Beecher Town, Hinds Town, and Cottage.

The health and wellness day was well supported and according to Grocia: "We had doctors from the surrounding area; we had a dental team from UWI (University of the West Indies), plus Food for the Poor has supplied us with some medication which we used to treat the residents."

A wide cross section of the community came out to access free medical care: two such persons being Lori-Ann Bailey and her sister Tanika Bailey, who brought her two children.

"I took my kids to the health fair and they were taken care of by the paediatrician and everything is going fine," Tanika told Family and Religion.

"I think it's a good thing they (BTGBA) are doing especially for the school and people who live in this area, I think it will help out a lot."

"Yes, it's a good idea (BTGBA giving back) because people from the community will benefit a lot. I do appreciate what they are doing," Lori-Ann stated.

After the meet-and-greet day, everyone looked forward to the family fun day and dance, spread across the Methodist church and the Beecher Town Basic School grounds.

Children turned out in their numbers to enjoy free face painting, merry-go-round, bounce-about, ice cream and other goodies, while next door a 15-over cricket competition was played with the winners pocketing $20,000 courtesy of Councillor for the Beecher Town division, Ian 'Trumpet' Bell.

Bell was thankful for the gift to the community.

Bell said: "On the start, on Saturday, we saw scores of persons coming out for health care. A lot of old persons, middle-aged and even the young ones. They got checked and were also given medication. The community is really glad for the effort that the association has been putting on."

The Skyliner Marching Band also entertained and music was supplied by Mello Phonic and DJ Raymix.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com