Deer-ly dutiful! Reggae Girlz advocate workingovertime to 'Give Back'
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Lavern Deer, who serves as an advocate for the Jamaica Reggae Girlz football programme, was given an honorary award for her stellar contribution to sports development earlier this month in South Florida, United States (US).
"I've enjoyed the acknowledgement, but the journey is greater now since my work has been recognised. My organisations have to carry the torch to continue making Jamaica proud," said Deer.
Deer was born in the inner-city community of Jones Town, Jamaica, but migrated at age nine. Even so, her ties have never waned. She has given solid support to Jamaica's women's football since 2011.
"The plan was to support young girls, to have them achieve better life experiences through sports," she noted.
As a community-minded person, Deer discovered the importance of football as a 'soccer mom'.
Now, she engages the diaspora in unique ways, with an annual Jamaica High School Alumni football and netball programme.
"I'm passionate about my organisations and initiatives because they help me give back to the land I love so much.
"As a mentor, it's a pleasure to help a child in Jamaica and here (US) who may be from the inner city, as I was.
"I am never ashamed of where I came from as that history paved my future," she underlined.
Bridging the gap
Despite not playing football, she remains focused on bridging the gap between people in Jamaica and the diaspora through sports. Deer is also the president and founder of Jamaica International Female Football Development, which works along with the Reggae Girlz.
Her civic duties in Florida spans the decades from the 1990's at the youth level and as an adult from 2004.
Deer's Give Back series will feature on the Labour Day weekend in South Florida. It includes a charity football match and netball tournament featuring former daCosta Cup players from different Jamaican high schools.
"Each year, the winning schools hand-deliver funds raised to their alma mater in Jamaica," she explained.
"There is power in the diaspora. Although we live abroad, we want to see Jamaica develop. We support events and organisations that benefit our beloved Jamaica," Deer noted.