Sun | Dec 10, 2023

Wards of the state laud COJO for well-needed support

Published:Wednesday | September 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Gary Williams (back centre) poses with Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) award recipients (from left front): Gold-Mae Bullock, Shantanna Dixon, Chantell Campbell, Kareem Carr; (from left, back) Nickorta Samuels and Aaron Rowe at the annual COJO scholarship luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.

Dwayne Haynes used his platform as a former ward of the state and a recipient of the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) scholarship, to encourage this year's six beneficiaries to be resilient in their efforts to become productive members of society.

COJO annually presents scholarships to wards of the state in tertiary institutions in Jamaica.

Haynes, who is now senior student assistant in the marketing office at the University of the West Indies and a Resident Advisor on Irvin Hall, emphasised that despite one's circumstances, nothing will be handed to anyone, which means you have to work for it.

"I was in your shoes at one point. The world for the most part will not care that we are faced with adverse struggles, challenges or obstacles on life's journey. Society owes you absolutely nothing. Your character, integrity, intellect, mannerism, your ability to be effective and efficient in all you do, as well as your tenacity to overcome the insurmountable, is what others will use to write their memoirs, character references in their minds about you," he said.

"In life, never seek after respect and recognitions, that must be earned. The time, effort, resources and love that investors deposit in you is an investment. The returns on investment that investors are expecting to reap, isn't in you paying them back with any money or any favours, the specific returns on investment which investors are seeking is to see you graduate and to see you becoming productive members of society."




Anna Mae Bullock, this year's recipient of the special Tony Johnson scholarship, said her vow in addition to her other colleagues, is to make her investors proud.

Your interest in assisting those most vulnerable speaks volumes. Thanks in seven different languages for your support," she said laughing.

"We will make you and the CDA (Child Development Agency) proud. We promise to continue to raise the academic bar of excellence as we continue to fulfil our career goals. The onus is on us and we most certainly understand that."

Gary Williams, chairman and founder of COJO, also addressed the gathering, noting that though this is the 23rd year, it never becomes a ritual.

Education Minister Ruel Reid and opposition spokesperson on youth, Lisa Hanna, also conveyed their best wishes to the recipients.