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Join service clubs, societies, CVSS head tells students

Sunday, September 09, 2018

The Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) is encouraging parents to get their children involved in voluntary activity, and points out that the new school year is the perfect time to start.

Saffrey Brown, who chairs the CVSS, said that civic service develops good values and builds rounded individuals who can contribute to the development of their communities.

“It also equips them with essential tools needed for the future such as leadership, team work, networking and much more,” said Brown.

And the various clubs and societies in schools are the perfect platform, she added.

Jamaica 4-H Clubs — the largest youth training organisation in Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean, with some 1,167 clubs islandwide and a membership of 104,334 — is one example.

“Involvement in the 4-H Clubs enables its members aged between five and 25 years to gain crucial skills which, in the long run, will make them rounded individuals as well as provide them with the opportunity to become entrepreneurs,” said Karelle McCormack, public relations and marketing manager.

She said, too, that clubites learn skills in agriculture, healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, home economics and leadership skills.

“Additionally, participating in youth in agriculture initiatives also creates opportunities for gaining agricultural scholarships to Jamaica's leading agricultural tertiary institutions among other endeavours,” said McCormack.

Jamaica 4-H Clubs is the youth training arm of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries.

The Girls' Brigade in Jamaica is another club through which students can volunteer.

Quindell Ferguson, commissioner of the Girls' Brigade in Jamaica and vice-president for the Caribbean and the Americas of Girls Brigade International, stressed the importance of people giving back to society, noting that one way of doing so is joining voluntary youth organisations. Apart from the personal development benefits, she said, volunteering can also provide professional advantage by giving a young job-seeker an edge over others based on résumés, for example.

“Joining a service club gives you an opportunity to be more disciplined, more understanding and an opportunity to learn a skill,” Ferguson said.

She also noted that service clubs provide opportunities for students to receive scholarships and to travel.

“I joined the Girls Brigade at age eight and never knew the day would have come where I became one of the international presidents. So, you see, it provided opportunities for me,” she shared.

The Girls Brigade, which is church-based, has more than 40 companies islandwide, with more than 2,000 members.

CVSS' Brown reiterated: “We encourage young people across Jamaica to take advantage of the clubs within their schools, and to view them as an opportunity to build a future for Jamaica, and for themselves.”