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Oakridge United embraces super moms

Published:Thursday | May 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberly Goodall
Shirley-Ann Chong (right) awards Valrie Cole with the Mother of the Year 2016 trophy.
Shirley-Ann Chong
Ronald Blair smooches his wife, Evon, after honouring her as an amazing mother and wife.

As many across the world embrace and acknowledge the power of women as mothers, the Oakridge United Prayer and Deliverance Ministries is once again recognising those who have nurtured the holistic being of children in the Jamaican society.

Pastor of Oakridge and founder of Woman to Woman and Men's Conference, Shirley-Ann Chong, is a passionate mother and believer of God who prides herself in being the brainchild and heart behind the highly anticipated Mother's Day celebration. Chong has worked for more than 12 years to unite women and mothers across the denominational lines.

In fulfilling her role as leader of Oakridge, Chong wanted to do more than provide a space for people to worship. She wanted to enrich and touch lives through her love for God. With that, Chong, alongside her congregation, opted to use prayer to support each other and help the nation and the challenges they face. Due to its miraculous works, their fellowship extended into communities and attracted many. This created a trusted platform - 'Woman to Woman, Let's Talk' for women to meet, pray and support. As the crowd grew, Chong saw the need for a bigger space and a well-structured programme. After much support, Oakridge started their Woman to Woman Conference which facilitated international personalities and speakers to inspire and motivate. Though the attendance was predominantly women, Chong sought to bring men on board as she believed that for women to strengthen their homes, they need the support of their husbands.




In July 2011, the conference was held at Montego Bay's New Convention Centre, where it received major support. Though the church saw the change they were making in society, they wanted to do and be more. After inspiration and word from their Lord and Saviour, Oakridge saw the need to highlight Mother's Day and created a Mother's Day celebration that would honour mothers across the island. "We are conscious that women and mothers constitute to the backbone of the family and we understand the pivotal role the family plays to national growth and development. So our Mother's Day celebration is to say mothers, we thank you for taking care of the nation, family and church. And by extension, we wanted to support the mothers so they can continue their quest of building family," Chong explained.

Growing up in the country, Chong often heard the saying 'encouragement sweetens labour', and for that reason, the Oakridge's National Mother's Day Celebration and crowning of Mother of the Year is dedicated to encouraging and treating women like queens.

For their Mother of the Year award, Oakridge reviews and chooses incredible mothers across the island and rewards three special mothers who go beyond theicall of duty. Last year, Valrie Cole went home as Mother of the Year while Melonia Waugh and Joyce Bernard copped second and third place, respectively. This year, on May 14 in the Kenneth Rattray Room at the Jamaica Conference Centre, Oakridge will once again wine, dine and shower mothers with roses and love. The event promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as mothers will go home feeling polished and spiritual fulfilled.

For more information and tickets: Tel: (876) 424-2488/ 417-8852/ 377-9873