Beyond the glitz and glamour, the spirit of volunteerism shined at the grand charity ball of the Civic Affairs Committee of the Jamaica Chamber Commerce (JCC).
The proceeds from this year's 31st staging of the ball will go towards the committee's inner city training programme. It was held last Saturday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
When the charity ball first started three decades ago, the mission was to bring back civic pride in Jamaica. Various mass media campaigns such as the "Clean as a Whistle" and the "Helping Hands" were used.
The operations and activities of the civic affairs committee have since its inception, been based on the principles of volunteerism, he said.
The Inner City Development Committee, which was launched in 1990, led the way for the programme, which over the years has trained inner city residents and police officers.
Sameer Younis, chairman of the JCC's Civic Affairs Committee, said the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) was contracted to implement courses in the areas of human interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, anger management, family life, community leadership, employability skills and entrepreneurship. A graduation ceremony is held after the programme and the top male and female students are given a scholarship from UCC to advance their studies.
The organisation has maintained this shape and form over the years, which has enabled it to contribute significantly to Jamaica's development.
Through its various philanthropic endeavours and community projects and activities, the civic affairs committee has helped to improve and advance the lives of many persons, particularly those in inner city communities, deemed society's marginalised.
This programme is very vital and essential for the development and enhancements of police/citizen relationship in inner city communities, said Daenard Meike, police graduate of the training programme.
"In the end, the training programme allowed us to have a better relationship with the police and the inner city communities," Meike said.
Female graduate, Tracey-Ann Samuels said the programme provides opportunity for many inner-city residents.
"We have received the foundation needed to begin taking on our dream, to be the true leaders needed to strengthen the backbone of our society," Samuels said.
The benefits, rewards or dividends, which, the members of the committee and, by extension, all of Jamaica will reap, will impact the lives of those deemed as marginalised, Younis said.