Jamaica Women of Florida gifts US$12,500 to Melody House for Girls
ST JAMES, Jamaica – In a heartwarming gesture to give back to their home country, the Jamaica Women of Florida (JWOF) recently made a significant contribution of US$12,500 to the Montego Bay Community Home for Girls in St James.
The cheque was handed over during a special ceremony at the home at Spring Farm in Rose Hall.
The home’s operations manager, Yvette Mahoney, and one of the original founders and director, Christine Dexter, were on hand to collect the donation as well as to express gratitude on behalf of the wards.
This generous donation is intended to accelerate the development of a two-storey transitional home for the wards residing at the facility, also known as the Melody Home for Girls.
JWOF president, Janice McIntosh stated that the significance of the contribution is rooted in the fact that the girls living at Melody House age out of the system at 18 years old, which is a critical and vulnerable stage in their lives.
The transitional home will provide them with a stable environment where they can stay until they reach 25.
This extended support will afford these young women the opportunity to pursue further education and mature, ensuring they are better prepared to face the challenges of the world on their own.
“At 18 years old, they are still very young and very impressionable to have the world unleashed upon them. It’ll be too soon; and so the fact that they can stay at a transitional home where they’ll be until age 25, is quite efficient,” McIntosh outlined.
The value of this endeavour cannot be overstated according to her, as it offers these girls a chance to develop skills, obtain an education, and build self-sufficiency before transitioning to adulthood.
The long-term plan for the transitional home will include four bedrooms on the upper level with additional space for offices, counselling, recreational activities, storage, and computer facilities on the lower floor.
This will provide the girls with a safe and supportive environment as they transition to adulthood.
“We also thought it very poignant in our 10th anniversary [year] to do a presentation to Melody House [that] we have adopted as the Jamaican arm of the charity. We’ve been supporting them for the last 10 years,” McIntosh informed.
JWOF has aided in various ways over the years, including supporting the home’s chicken farm with a recent contribution of US$1,300 to purchase additional laying hens.
These contributions, whether monetary or otherwise, are deeply appreciated by the girls, as they ensure a constant source of support throughout their residency.
The non-profit organisation, which boasts 175 members, has been actively involved in other charitable work over the decade, both in the United States and Jamaica.
The entity has collaborated with various charitable organisations such as Food For The Poor on several engagements.
With a vast support network of more than 1,000 men and women, JWOF can continue its mission to make a positive impact, not only on Melody House but also on various charitable fronts.
“What we do know is that they (the girls of Melody House) do appreciate it. So, it’s important for us to ensure that we are constant so that any child that comes there will know of their aunties and their uncles from JWOF. We are a constant source of support,” McIntosh explained.
The home, which began operations in 1979, currently has 10 girls, aged 13 to 18 years, but has the capacity to accommodate up to 14 youngsters.
Mahoney expresses gratitude for the organisation’s benevolent gesture.
“We’re actually grateful for this, because it’s since 2020 that we got something to break ground and have been at a standstill since then. So, this will help to push us forward and it will do a lot for the girls,” she indicated.
The wards’ stay at the home can range from days to years, depending on their individual circumstances.
The facility will offer extended support and guidance, nurturing these young women as they gradually become self-sufficient adults, according to Mahoney.
“I really want to express the maximum amount of gratitude to the Jamaica Women of Florida. They’ve done so much for us over the years, even when they were a lot smaller in number,” she pointed out.
“When the children couldn’t go to school during COVID-19, they provided laptops [among other] things. So we are extremely thankful to them for what they’re doing for us, and the girls… [it’s] well appreciated,” she added.
The Montego Bay Community Home for Girls is a charitable organisation whose sole source of income is derived from generous contributions.
While the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) provides some support when placing a girl in the home’s care, it is predominantly the generosity of donations and charitable efforts that sustain the entity.