COJO turns 20 with summer soiree
In honour of its 20 years of service to the children of Jamaica, the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) hosted a summer garden soirée at Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York, on Saturday, June 21.
The event was staged to help raise funds for the organisation to continue its philanthropic efforts back on the Rock - a feat they have been successfully doing for the past two decades.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as Jamaicans living in the diaspora gathered to raise awareness (about the work of the organisation) and funds to aid in the development and growth of the future of their home country. Slated to start at 6 p.m, it came as no surprise that the lawns were still half empty at the slated time. It seems Jamaicans every where are always fashionably late. However, that was not a major problem, as the early birds were treated to libations ranging from sodas, to fruit juices, wines and champagne, and delectable eats, courtesy of The Door restaurant.
As the venue filled up with party patrons, chairman of COJO, Gary Williams,
gave a brief welcome, outlining the success of last year's annual gala,
and revealed December 6 as the date for this year's event at the Hilton
Hotel JFK. This announcement sparked the interest of those present and
the air began to buzz with talk of last year's success despite the
Shortly after the formalities, it
was time for those present to be entertained. Students of Future Grads
gave a two-part performance - a duet to Fantasia's When I See
You and a cheer/stomp performance. Future Grads is an
organisation that was founded in 2000 to address the psychological,
socio-economic and educational needs of children who have suffered
trauma from the unexpected separation and loss of a parent because of
arrest, imprisonment and deportation. With the same mandate as COJO, the
unity was obvious.
After Future Grads' performance, everyone was in
for a 'fashionable' treat, courtesy of a number of Jamaican and African
designers. Leading the charge was Kahnami Creations with its luxurious
and bold designs from their resortwear collection. They were followed by
Moshood's African collection representing African pride with its
textures and prints for both male and female. Jamaica's own Andre
Shirley also showcased his resortwear that was well received. The
collection of Courtney Washington and House of D'Marsh left many of the
women in the audience totally captivated not only by the designs, but
also the textures.
After the fashion show, it was time
to mix and mingle as patrons purchased raffle tickets for a chance to
win one of three prizes which all involved a trip to Jamaica, courtesy
of JetBlue Airways.
At the end of the night, Wayne
Morris walked away with the ultimate prize of a six-day five-night stay
for two at the Jewel Dunn's River and a pair of round-trip tickets.
Second and third places went to Reginald Hamilton and Kathryn and Dwight
Geddes, respectively. But the event didn't stop there, as guests
continued the business of mixing and mingling as only Jamaicans can,
until the 11 p.m end time.
Photos by Gladstone