Atlanta Jamaica Association continues to aid Teen Challenge
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
Three years ago when The Gleaner carried a story about Teen Challenge, the Ocho Rios, St Ann-based non-profit organisation dedicated to helping persons suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, it sparked the interest of the USA-based Atlanta Jamaica Association (AJA).
Since then, the AJA has been assisting Teen Challenge on a yearly basis by making donations towards their programme.
The latest such donation took place last week in Ocho Rios when AJA secretary, A.J. Stone, handed over a cheque for an undisclosed amount to executive director of Teen Challenge, Anthony Richards.
"Teen Challenge Jamaica has been on the radar for us a couple of years now, and this is our third donation to them," Stone told Rural Xpress.
"We are hoping that the donation will be used to improve the programme in whatever little way that it can, to help them graduate these residents back into the community and allow them to give back from what they're receiving from the programme."
Stone added, "We wanted to make this presentation to Teen Challenge on behalf of our executive board members and especially Alan Stewart, the president of Atlanta Jamaica Association, who really believes in Teen Challenge and wants it to be an organisation that we continue to support."
Richards was delighted with the assistance, while explaining that Teen Challenge, through various micro businesses, was seeking to become less dependent on donations and more self-sufficient.
"We're very, very grateful. We appreciate this donation and it will be used to help these men to develop their life skills here and to prepare them, via vocational skills, to re-enter society," Richards said.
He added: "However, while we do appreciate this donation, we want to be more dependent on our micro businesses and less dependent on donations. We are in the process of removing the men's centre from this location in Ocho Rios to the Haddon location, where we have a farm, and that will be done in very short order. We would appreciate donation by way of help to develop other micro businesses, because we believe with able-bodied men we can be more dependent on our micro businesses and less on donations."
Richards also paid tribute to The Gleaner for helping to establish the link between Teen Challenge and Atlanta Georgia Association.
"It is out of one of your articles in The Gleaner that they (AJA) learnt about Teen Challenge and they've been supporting us since," Richards told Rural Xpress.
Atlanta Jamaica Association is the oldest Caribbean non-profit organisation in Atlanta and is made up of Jamaican volunteers who want to give back to the community and to Jamaica.
The organisation raises funds through various fundraising activities, with the money benefiting causes in Jamaica or children in Atlanta with Jamaican parentage, through scholarships and other means.
Teen Challenge operates a one-year residential faith-based (Christian) rehabilitation programme, which includes a 40-bed men's centre and an eight-bed girls' centre, as well as a 10-acre farm near Haddon in St Ann.