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COJO 20 years strong

Published:Saturday | December 13, 2014 | 12:30 PMDavina Henry
Priscilla Standard and Jackie Shand arrive at the COJO 20th Annual Gala at the Hilton JFK.
The dapper Wayne Cummings is greeted by the lovely Carrole Guntley.
Richard Anthony Lue is presented the 2014 Visionary Award by COJO board member Sharon Locke-Stoney
Photos by Raymond Simpson Paulette Taylor is awarded the COJO Team Award by Chairman and founder Gary Williams.
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson presents the 2014 COJO Community Service Award to Mark A. Crawford, Esq.
Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson presents the 2014 COJO Community Service Award to Mark A. Crawford, Esq.
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COJO 20 years strong

Accomplishing 20 years as a charitable organisation is no easy feat, yet the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO), has remained faithful to its vision of improving the lives of children in need through education and health care, and has been able to accomplish so much for so many of the nation's children.

With this in mind, hundreds of patrons turned out the annual charity gala at the Hilton JFK in New York. Undeterred by the pouring rain, patrons donned fabulous gowns and suits and quickly made their way into the ballroom.

Earlier this year, four scholarships valued at more than US$20,000 were awarded to students.

COJO's commitment and passion to provide new avenues and opportunities for many less-fortunate Jamaicans was lauded by the guest of honour, former Prime Minister Percival James 'PJ' Patterson.

"Never lose sight of the significant contributions that Jamaicans overseas have made an continue to make to the social and economic well being of our country," Patterson stated.

Patterson also commended COJO for being a welcome source of social investments.

"You have played an important role in the growth of our country. Although you live and work in the USA, quite sensibly, you have never turned your back on the land of your birth because 'nuh whe nuh better than yard. Nuff respect due."

He added that COJO should be applauded for providing opportunities for due franchised children to develop their full potential.

"Special mention must be made of the Alpha Home For Boys. Over the years, they have produced a galaxy of stars. Who knows who are the people who will now rise from the Alpha Home to be musicians of top brass."

But the Alpha Home For Boys aren't the only organisation to benefit from COJO's benevolence. Maxfield Park Children's Home, Garland Hall Children's Home and the New Vision Child Care Facility have been impacted by the altruistic spirit and generous support of COJO.

By now, attendees were anxious to get on the dance floor. But the waiting period was delayed for a short while as the 2014 honorees were announced. They included Robert C. DeSouza and Paulette Taylor, who each received the COJO team award. The Community Service Award was presented to Mark Crawford, ESQ, while the philanthropy award went to Dalbert and Vilma Daley. Sandals Resort International was presented the Visionary Award.

With the formalities over, patrons quickly made their way to the dancefloor. The DJs certainly did not disappoint as attendees did the electric slide before moving on to more uptempo reggae and soca hits until the wee hours of the morning.