Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
THE YOUNG Woman Of Purpose (YWOP) group has been playing an important role in bettering the lives of young people in the parish of Manchester.
The YWOP was established in 2009 as a community project by 2009 Manchester Festival Queen Lanisia Rhoden in a move to help shape the lives of youth in the parish.
Since then, the YWOP, which is a non-profit organisation, has been involved in many positive projects. The group is currently headed by Ruth Christian, its current president and a founding member of the organisation.
"One of our main projects annually is we partner with the 3D (Dedicated to the Development of the Disabled) where we put on a treat for disabled persons in December in Mandeville," Christian disclosed.
"We have been having it every December since 2009. We get help from sponsors Burger King, Manchester Cooperative Credit Union, Food and Service Limited, and the NCB Foundation. We see it as a means of helping the disabled community, which is often neglected, and they (disabled persons) look forward to it."
The YWOP also rendered assistance to Haiti earthquake victims when they embarked on a walkathon campaign in 2010 along with A Brighter Day Foundation "We raised $455,000 in cash and kind," Christian disclosed. "It was presented to the Jamaica Information Service for the earthquake relief funds."
The organisation has a mentorship programme which has mentees in several schools in Manchester. Christian explained, "We provide mentorship to these young people in order to place them on a positive path in life. They are from communities in Manchester, including Greenvale, Knockpatrick, Cross Keys, and Mandeville."
Christian added, "We have our annual back-to-school treat where we give out school supplies such as pencils, pens, and books. We do this not only for our mentees, but we extend that to other needy students."
The president disclosed that they had seen positive changes in the students who they were mentoring. "These mentees are doing very well. We have seen great improvement in their general attitude and their outlook on life," Christian said. "Each month, we have resource persons such as the police come in and speak to them. We recently invited a dermatologist to come and educate them about their body.
"We also go into the schools to speak to the students on various issues. Our aim is to help them in their development in making them better prepared for the society as well as help them to identify their worth in order to build their self-esteem."