Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator
Queens, New York:
It was a cold December night and only weeks after a superstorm ravaged the area, but when Gary Williams and other Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) members gathered for their annual fund-raising and awards gala in Queens, New York, last week, there was nothing but good vibes and high spirits all around.
It was Saturday, December 1, and friends of Jamaica and Jamaicans living in New York turned out in fine style and in great numbers at the La Guardia Plaza Hotel, in support of children in the United States and Jamaica.
COJO was founded by Williams, a Jamaican, in 1994, and in the 18 years since, the NGO has been making much-needed donations to numerous children's organisations in Jamaica and the US. Windsor Child Care Facility, Alpha Boys School, and Grandville Child Care Facility are just a few of the organisations that have benefitted from the yearly gala.
As noted by COJO executive Paulette Taylor in the welcome, "our motivation remains our children who are our future."
Gail Moaney, managing partner and director of Finn Partners, summed up the work of COJO, quoting Henry David Thoreau, "One is not born into the world to do everything, but do something." And along that line, COJO awarded four Jamaicans who, over the years, have done a lot to help the organisation achieve its objective. Colin Barrett (who was absent)
It was a night filled with fun. The master of ceremonies, Reverend Canon McIntyre, was a bag of laughs. But it was Empea Entertainment that paved the way for Caribbean people to do what they do best: party! They had Christmas carols and Bob Marley as the perfect backdrop to dinner. And once the formalities were over, they kicked the party into high gear starting with