LETTER OF THE DAY - Jamaicans committed to serving

Published: Monday | December 24, 2012 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The lights are up, the traffic is bumper to bumper, the shops are busy and company reports are in. There is much to occupy the mind of each Jamaican but, spare a thought for those whose minds are still wrestling with the devastation of the sneaky Hurricane Sandy though, as she left destruction in her wake.

And yet, while we still curse Sandy, the event of a late-season hurricane served to remind that all year round the spirit of giving, loving and sharing is strong among Jamaicans.

At Christmas, we tend to register and talk about the amount of money in circulation. However, also in high supply are expressions of love and acts of service which bear immeasurable currency.

This season is wonderful in the way it calls out of each Jamaican, the sense of duty and desire to ensure that children, the elderly and the needy are remembered and are shown that someone cares. Some cynics might say that this happens only at Christmas. However, we at the Scotia Foundation are privileged to see and know that right throughout the year, Jamaicans respond appropriately and quickly to a call to give.

One recent story reminded me of how infectious giving can be. One of the crew members for our television programme, 'The Teller', despite having his hands full with filming and editing our various Christmas treats and social interventions, was moved to get in on the action and coordinated among his family and friends to make a significant donation of new clothing to a particular community which was recently affected by natural disaster.

I have found this to be true. Acts of love, kindness and service permeate Jamaican society and are the strong links that effectively hold the nation together. Service and sacrifice promote the type of resilience necessary for recovery when disasters strike.

Added to that are the many instances where seeds planted over time, by the way we support the growth of the younger generation, for example, through scholarships or other life-transforming means of support, germinate to form beautiful flowers or otherwise strong trees with deep roots. The same young people, who receive today, are empowered to give tomorrow.

greater coordination of efforts

My hope is to see greater coordination of efforts, through a combination of approaches, including acts of service, bring about needed transformation in critical areas of our country.

How can service lend support in a strong and meaningful way to reducing crime and violence, ensuring that each child gets a solid education and that schools are adequately resourced to facilitate this, providing health care for all who need it, especially those who need emergency surgery and ongoing treatment or increasing our productivity and exports?

Christmas comes once per year, but the task of fostering national development is constantly with us. Let us include in our Christmas dinner conversations an exploration of how, through service, we can bring about the transformations that will make this country all that it can be and all that it deserves to be.

Joylene Griffiths-Irving

Executive Director

Scotia Foundation

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