Wed | Apr 24, 2019

Teen gives back to Mandeville community

Published:Wednesday | August 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jessica Jeffrey accepts donations from Dwayne Sering of DELmay Distributors.

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Upon seeing her, some would instinctively assume that she fits the image of the privileged child who grew up in the nuclear family, hardly ever knowing what it feels like to be in need.

On the contrary, 18-year-old Jessica Jeffrey, the reigning Miss Universe Jamaica Central, said she knows what is feels like to struggle and to wish someone would help. This is the number one reason why she will always focus on projects centred around giving back to needy children and at-risk youth.

"I grew up in the rural area of St Elizabeth with just my mom, no dad. Everything I do is to help my mom, to make her proud. Things were hard growing up and though things got better as the years passed; you will always remember what it feels like to be in need," Jeffrey told The Gleaner.

Currently a second-year communications student at the Northern Caribbean University, Jeffrey said that while attending the BB Coke High School, she learned to make it through with limited resources.

"I did not get a computer until I was in fifth form ... . I remember, too, in my first year of university, around the time of exams, my mom did not know how the school fee was going to be paid. It was a hard time, very stressful, and it was only when my mother got the opportunity to go overseas on the farm work programme that I was able to get over that hurdle," Jeffrey recalled.

Jeffery, last Monday, gave away more than 200 books at her back-to-school kiddies' treat held at Golf View Hotel.

"I really love children and this is one way I can impact their lives ... all thanks to Everything Sweet, who brought in the snacks and the sweets for the kids; and DELmay, for sponsoring the books; and everyone who pooled together to make this a success. Ideally, I want to start a foundation that focuses on scholarship and grants for young people," she said.