WCJF giving girls a second chance
The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange recently launched the A-STREAM (Advancing Secondary Tertiary Remedial Education for Adolescent Mothers) Initiative to give hope to adolescent mothers at the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) 40th Anniversary Charity Ball.
On Saturday, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, profound stories were told of how doors have been shut in the faces of these girls by friends and family members. Also shared were stories of the lonely paths they walked and how the WCJF helped them to stay on track and get them back into the traditional school system after having their children, many moving on to be trailblazers in their careers and some still working on that with exemplary grades and a bright future.
We also heard the story of Yasheka Brooks, who is still facing the stigma of being a young mother but refuses to stay down despite the odds.
Now attending Excelsior Community College pursuing a nursing career despite her struggles with finances, she maintains a 3.66 GPA. She moved many in the room to tears.
Minister Grange pledged that her bills were paid in full. The initiative will offer mentorship to 40 girls from 40 women, who will walk with them throughout their secondary education.
Scholarships and financial support will also be provided through the venture.
Actress Dr Victoria Rowell, who spent several years in foster care, gave insight into her past. She saw first-hand the growth of her sister who had been raped and who subsequently had a child at the age of 16, but who managed to work her way up to being an accountant with the military. This was not the first speech of this kind for her as she has been recognised by the United Nations Association, USA Pacific Chapter, for her contributions to human rights and world peace.
Guests left feeling encouraged and proud to have supported such a worthy cause.