Sat | Oct 24, 2020

Karate team offers assistance to teenage moms

Published:Thursday | August 13, 2020 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Valentyna Zolotarova, Jamaica Olympic qualifying karate team member, said the group will donate the proceeds from their ‘Defend The Future’ virtual masterclass online seminar, which takes place on August 30 at 10 a.m., to the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica, to assist teenage mothers.

Zolotarova, along with Kenneth Edwards, Alton Brown and Jessica Cargill, will host the one-day seminar, which will have participants from England, Canada, USA and Jamaica, and Zolotarova said they are hoping to raise at US$1,000 ($148,000), some of which will come from their pockets, to help the over 300 young mothers in the foundation’s education programme at 18 locations islandwide.

“Most of us on the (karate) team are older athletes and parents, so we know in our journey as athletes how difficult it is to be a parent, even as grown people to be parents is tough. So we can only imagine how hard it is for young moms who are teenagers, so we thought it would be a good example,” Zolotarova told The Gleaner.

“Providing healthcare so the moms can continue their education is something that is in line with the reason we support this organisation. We think strong parents are a good example for their children breaking the cycle of young girls not finishing their education.

“We would like to contribute a minimum of US$500 to the organisation but we are aiming for US$1,000. The athletes (karate team) are going to make up the $500 if we don’t make the target. Hopefully, we get a good turnout as we want to donate at least $1,000,” she insisted.

The team started promoting the event online over a week now, which includes a song done by Zolotarova and others, and they anticipate strong international support from England, where Brown is based, Canada where she resides and has a karate school, and locally where Edwards and Cargill have been mobilising the fraternity.

There will also be free passes available for some of the less fortunate who are unable to afford the seminar, Zolotarova disclosed.

“We have dojos and karate studios in the USA, Canada, England, and some from Europe have expressed interest in attending the event. A lot of people know about Jamaica but they don’t know about the issues and organisations within, so it’s good for Jamaica and karate to expose some of the problems on the island and organisations that need international support. So one of our thoughts is to raise awareness and make more people know about this organisation so there can be more international support for it,” Zolotarova commented.


Zoe Simpson, executive director of the Women’s Centre, said the event will be of great benefit to the organisation and the young ladies looking to get their lives back on track with very limited support and resources.

“Considering the needs we have and the clientèle we serve, their vulnerabilities and the wide range of needs they have, this is a kind expression and we are glad to receive it. It means a lot to us because we cannot do the work ourselves, so it is always heart-warming when fellow Jamaicans recognise the work we do and offer support,” Simpson said.

“This is to help adolescent mothers in life and to help them hurdle the challenge of early pregnancy and being an early parent. Going back to school is not a walk in the park, she (young mother) is going back as mother and student with the desire to maximise her potential and finish high school, and in a number of instances, the girls cannot afford the expenses. But all the girls want to maximise their potential, they just want the support from their families and the wider Jamaican community to help them to get on with their lives,” she said.