Jamaica | There And Back Again
From June 9 to June 19, 2014, I had the joy, privilege, and honor to embark on my annual missions trip to Jamaica to empower children and youth in impoverished communities. Every year, around my birthday, I take the opportunity life has given me to mentor and encourage these destitute youth to make positive life choices. And while this year seemed incredibly difficult due to getting my supplies through the Jamaican government, at the end of the day, I still was able to provide school supplies, accessories, books, and toys to the community in Kingston, Jamaica.
I consider Jamaica a second home, even though I wasn’t born there. I taught myself to be fluent in Jamaican Patios, the creole language of the people. As an ambitious business women and entrepreneur, I have struggled above and beyond a less graceful childhood. I want to share my personal growth and development with hopes to inspire the dreams and ambitions of those in similar situations. I saw a need and felt a special connection with to the Jamaican people.
Once in Jamaica, I had arranged for several barrels filled with supplies, toys, and accessories for the children to be delivered shortly after I arrived. And they did; however, the Jamaican government would not allow me to access them. I spent 5 days back and forth between the TRN Tax office, customs, and several different offices to try to get the proper paperwork to clear the barrels for the kids To make a long and unbelievably frustrating story short, I ended up paying $500 out of my own pocket in order to retrieve the barrels. I was so stressed and overwhelmed that several times I wanted to cry. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t help me bring supplies and toys to these kids. In the end, I only had one day to complete my mission.
Committed to giving back to the youth, I travelled to the Jamaican parishes of Spanish Town Kingston 11 and Cassava Piece Kingston 8. In a single day, I visited two schools, Constant Spring Primary & Junior High and Spanish Town High School as well as Cassave Piece Education Center in hopes to embrace, empower, and encourage the underprivileged children of communities that needed inspiration, motivation, and encouragement the most.
I will never forget my experiences there and the kids I met there. It’s quite remarkable to come here to Jamaica to love these children and in the end, I am the one feeling most loved. It was an overwhelmingly joyous experience watching the kids cry because I was there to help them. Not only did I speak to them about staying away from drugs and making smart decisions in the now, but also I spoke with them about thinking of their future. I encouraged these kids to seek mentors and internships to realize their dreams and make a better future for themselves.
I believe that I accomplished my mission despite the trouble I ran into with the barrel situation. I still got an amazing opportunity to give guidance to these children and youths. I also got to see them truly appreciate the gifts in the barrels. I feel like, with the help and gifts through Grace Period, I was able to change and influence lives.
A Word of Advice
If you plan on doing your own missions trip to Jamaica, I highly suggest building strong relationships with the people that live there. The only reason I got the opportunity that I did was through the solid links that I had made with several Jamaican people. The government process is not easy, as you can see with my barrel situation; but the outcome is rewarding. Don’t expect the government to help you and be prepared for anything.
You can also help support Grace Period by making donations. We love and appreciate all gifts, no matter the size.
Founder / Philanthropist
About Grace Period
Founded in 2010, Grace Period is a 501 c3, not for profit organization with the mindset to give youth an opportunity to step away from the conflict and discord in their lives. Armed with the simplicity of the creed, “In life, we all need a grace period,” the organization strives to give youths a positive outlook on their future by teaching them the power of attraction: If you visualize your dreams, they will manifest in your life.