St Ann volunteer cops Commonwealth Points of Light award

St Ann volunteer cops Commonwealth Points of Light award

Friday, October 23, 2020

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A second Jamaican has been selected by Queen Elizabeth II for the Commonwealth Points of Light honour.

Jamaican Sophia McKenzie has been selected as the 159th Commonwealth Point of Light for her exceptional voluntary service, supporting her local community and schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.

Jamaica's Neville Charlton, the founder of Youths Inspiring Positive Change became the first winner of the award when he was selected as the 115th Commonwealth Point of Light in October of last year.

This time it is McKenzie turn. She has been supporting her community of Hartlands in Priory, St Ann, through the novel coronavirus pandemic by distributing welfare packs of food and hygiene essentials to vulnerable people.

She has also spearheaded the building of additional classroom space at a local school, which will allow education to continue as there will be sufficient space for social distancing.

McKenzie is also leading an ongoing project to build a second gazebo on the school grounds which will function as an additional study area.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, The Queen — as head of the Commonwealth — is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week.

By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards is designed to celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time, including the current pandemic.

“This recognition is a great honour, one I never previously imagined and I am truly grateful,” said McKenzie.

“This award represents that which is right with Jamaica and the Commonwealth, uplifting and supporting each other. I will continue on this path to curating a stronger Commonwealth, one small act of kindness at a time,” added McKenzie.

In handing over the award Asif Ahmad, the United Kingdom's High Commissioner in Jamaica said it was well deserved as it takes immense character and selflessness to step up and impact the way McKenzie has done, and continues to do, during the uncertainty of this pandemic.

“The work she has done in schools is particularly impressive given the many challenges those institutions and students are now faced with,” said Ahmad.

“Her principles of benevolence and volunteerism are one for Jamaicans of all ages to emulate and this award will continue to highlight these unsung heroes,” added Ahmad.

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