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Corporate Hands - Scotia volunteers help pregnant teens

Published:Thursday | February 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Scotia volunteers will, over the next seven weeks, empower adolescent mothers by facilitating training at the Women's Centre Foundation locations across the island. Titled 'Career Success', the course includes topics with emphasis on critical thinking and creativity, communication and conflict management. Working in association with the Junior Achievement Jamaica, the volunteers will train girls enrolled with the Women's Centre, in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Thomas, Portland, St Ann, St James, St Elizabeth, Manchester, and St Catherine.

This is the second phase of a broader programme being managed by the Scotia Foundation, called 'Girls Empowered for Motherhood and Success' (GEMS), that will culminate with the celebration of International Women's Day in March. In phase one, a presentation of baby clothing and furniture was made to the Women's Centre after Scotiabank staff conducted an extensive baby clothes drive in December.

"We saw the opportunity to give the girls sound career advice in preparation for the work world," says Joylene Griffiths Irving, executive director of Scotia Foundation and coordinator of the GEMS programme. "Many of these young women have limited alternatives, and we felt the need to help and give hope in spite of their circumstances." The Women's Centre programme allows pregnant teens to continue their education, for at least one term at nearby centres. They are subsequently returned to the formal school system after the birth of their babies.

The 120 Scotia volunteers, who have since 2003 been giving back to their communities through the Scotia volunteer programme, is one of the many programmes managed by the volunteers through the Scotia Foundation.