Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
JACKS RIVER, St Mary:
ARMED WITH a great passion for the upliftment of women and community self-governance, Nicola Hamilton is advocating for women in St Mary to value themselves and seek upliftment through education. She has, therefore, set out on a volunteer mission seeking to empower women all over the parish.
"My passion is working with women. I speak at parent-teacher association meetings as well as at workshops about women and togetherness and that each one needs one," said Hamilton.
"I want women in this parish to uplift ourselves in terms of education. When we touch Kingston, the women there are fast and vibrant, while we are more laid-back, maybe because we feel like we may not leave the four corners," she told The Gleaner.
Hamilton wants women to recognise that there is more out there for them, but "it is never going to be given to us, and we have to see it in ourselves and decide where we want to go".
Hamilton, who is a community advocate, voluntarily attends public meetings on behalf of various communities.
"When anything is happening, I try to make myself present and do my research, and I will call the councillors and the member of parliament to find out more. I then go back to the community and explain the issues to residents so they can understand," she explained.
The vibrant graduate of Brimmervale High migrated to the United States (US) to further her education in mass communications at New York University. She also holds an associate degree in Spanish from York College in the US. Soon after completing her studies, Hamilton was anxious to return to Jamaica to impart the knowledge she had acquired. It is with this knowledge that she sets out to assist four schools between the parishes of St Ann and St Mary with their Spanish language curriculum.
"When I finished studying abroad and I came here, my main influence was to give back what I have been taught because I was from St Mary, too, and I didn't believe that I would leave. I ventured out and I saw the world wider, and I want that for my other sisters in the parish," she stated.
Offering voluntary service
Hamilton said the work that she has been doing is geared towards making Spanish more recognisable in early childhood development.
"From the primary schools they are thrown into Spanish at high school and they were never exposed to it before. I would want it to be more open to the public primary schools," Hamilton stated.
"So what I've been doing is going around offering voluntary service between St Ann and St Mary, telling what I know in Spanish to these kids," Hamilton told The Gleaner.
"By 2016, the world is going to be so advanced in language, Spanish is the most popularly spoken apart from English. Sooner or later, we are going to realise that we are brushing shoulders with Spanish-speaking people," she explains.
She has also embarked on a number of ventures to promote Spanish. She explained: "There is so much reality TV, and it's all about music. There is hardly any reality TV about education. But I can feel it in the kids. The other day I went into a kindergarten class, and one of the kids said Hola!, and that one word makes me feel like I taught for years."
She is encouraging parents to speak to their children and find out what is happening to them.
"Speak to them in the language that they understand. Don't curse them. This is what breaks us down and a broken individual is a broken society," argued Hamilton. "We might ask every day, what is the government doing for us, and point out what they are not doing it. But if we individually can't do something for ourselves, it's going to be a broke government anyway," Hamilton told The Gleaner.