COJO points To'Wards' a better tomorrow
The new school year has started off with a bang for Patricia Brown, Alex Arnold, Tanegea Campbell, and Moesha Wollery. Wards of the state, the four were each presented scholarships valued at US$5,000 each by the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO), at a luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday, September 9.
Chairman and founder of COJO, Gary Williams, and other members of the executive, flew into the island from New York where the charity is based, to do what they have done every year for the past five years - address the needs of children in state care.
On this trip, the group also made a donation of computers, appliances, equipment, and sneakers to Windsor Lodge Children's Home in Mandeville, and Reddies Place of Safety, on Thursday.
Rosalee Gage-Grey, head of the Child Development Agency, said that there were 40 wards at tertiary institutions, and noted that many of them would not be achieving their goals without the assistance of COJO. "CDA thanks you wholeheartedly for help in transforming our country, one child at a time," she said.
And transforming their lives they will be. Patricia Brown will be studying biotechnology at the University of the West Indies, Mona; Moesha Wollery is heading to Moneague College; Alex Arnold to Montego Bay Community College; and Tanegea Campbell will be pursing studies in nursing at Northern Caribbean University.
It was celebration all around for the awardees who have achieved so much despite the odds. Minister with responsibility for information, Sandrea Falconer noted: "It is even more fulfilling when the achievements are grounded academically, and you can prove to yourself and others that despite your circumstances, you can achieve." She added: "You too can write your story of overcoming the odds and of triumph over adversity... . Rarely a dream or goal comes true easily and effortlessly without delays, problems, or hurdles. The bigger your dreams, the tougher your challenges; the more ambitious your goals, the more likely it is that you will face difficulties on your way towards it."
Guest speaker, James Moss-Solomon, of the Mona School of Business and Management, and director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, shared some of his out-of-the-box ideas, noting that the under-education of Jamaica's young people increases the risk of local and international instability. "We leave our children without the ability to analyse and make logical choices."
He told the awardees: "I wish you every success as you go forward. Remember at all times that we are classified as homo sapiens - the thinking man and not as parrots or other animals. Open your minds to thinking and solving problems; to invention and application; to leadership; to ethical values; to truth; honesty; all to the values we find missing at home today."