Mandeville’s mother to many
Wendy Freckleton – A lifetime of making a difference
For Wendy Freckleton, giving back to the community has always been second nature.
In 2018, the mother of one and president of JN Circle, Mandeville, took over the reins of the non-profit organisation Candle in the Dark Ministries. With years of experience in community outreach, social advocacy and philanthropy, Freckleton took hold of the opportunity to provide well-needed assistance to the homeless and mentally challenged living in Manchester.
Currently, more than 60 homeless and mentally challenged people visit the Mandeville-based drop-in centre monthly for food, shelter, clothes, and other basic amenities. Candle in the Dark Ministries also provides a community outreach programme where up to 20 indigents in the community of Greenvale receive meals daily.
Under Freckleton’s leadership, the organisation, with the assistance of the New Zealand Embassy Fund, JN Foundation and other civic organisations, constructed and opened a shelter in March 2020, with the capacity to accommodate 24 people. The plan is to expand the facility to provide bed space for roughly 40 persons at full capacity.
“Through the Candle in the Dark Ministries, I work to empower the homeless and the mentally challenged with the hope of coaching them to become independent once more. As a community advocate, I also continue to empower and inspire young people so that they can realise that there is hope, and, no matter what the challenges are, they can achieve great things,” Freckleton said.
Though the non-profit organisation continues to make a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of Jamaicans, it is just a small part of the work Freckleton continues to do through her various philanthropic endeavours.
“I have always had a passion for empowering young people. For 25 years, I operated the Mandeville Weekly community newspaper and employed young people who needed a second opportunity to become literate and learn a skill. I am very proud of those who achieved success,” she informed.
As president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Freckleton also spearheaded the construction of the D. Frank’s Early Childhood Institute, after recognising the need for greater educational opportunities for the young people in the Greenvale community.
Damion Mitchell, integration editor at The Gleaner, is one of the many young persons in Manchester whose lives have been impacted by Freckleton.
At 16 years old, straight out of high school, Mitchell got his first job writing for the Mandeville Weekly, an experience he credits with laying the foundation for his current success as a senior journalist.
“She was the first person to review a story that I wrote, and she sent it back to me about four times. Just at the point when I was getting annoyed, she accepted it,” Mitchell recalled.
He noted that this firmness and dedication to quality output has made Freckleton a stellar boss.
“Later on in my life, I understood the importance of very firm supervisors and the importance of ensuring that you do your work to the best of your ability, with absolutely no shortcuts, especially in a field as unforgiving as media,” he said.
He also noted that Freckleton taught him the value of investing his time wisely.
“I found that she was very much involved in lots of different investments and lots of different projects at the same time, and I wondered how she managed to carry so many different things at once. But, as I grew up, I realised that you really could do more than one thing at a time and still be good at them,” Mitchell reasoned.