MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Twelve students recently benefited from $360,000 worth of scholarships through the philanthropic efforts of the Young Women/Men of Purpose (YWOP/YMOP) in Manchester.
Speaking at an annual scholarship award ceremony at Neil's Auditorium in Mandeville, founder and executive director at YWOP/YMOP Lanisia Rhoden said the organisation continues to reach scores of students.
"As an organisation we have been supporting students at the secondary and tertiary levels for several years. In 2019 when we celebrated our 10th anniversary we launched three scholarships — our board of directors scholarship, founder's scholarship, and foundation friends scholarship," she said.
Rhoden said the scholarship criteria include community involvement and those in need.
"Since we have launched all these scholarships we have actually given over $1.5 million in scholarships to high school and tertiary students across Jamaica," she said.
She added that students have benefited from the Peter Parkin Annual Career Essay Award over the past four years.
"Parkin is a former national football player for Jamaica. He saw the organisation online and the work that we have been doing and decided that he wanted to sponsor two students yearly to provide a scholarship for them to help them with their school expenses," she said.
Deputy Mayor of Mandeville Rohan Kennedy commended the organisation for its initiative.
"Seeing that it has started over five years now and has been working with at-risk young people, especially the most vulnerable in our society… I felt inspired today so I made a contribution of $50,000 to the organisation," he said.
"It is very important to see that young people can really come up with an initiative like this and, as we are celebrating Jamaica 60 and we need to reignite a nation for greatness, one of the things we need to reignite is volunteerism — and to see that this organisation is volunteering a lot of time and energy is very commendable," he added.
The organisation has also received the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) Grant 2022-2023 to implement the Realise, Embrace, Achieve, your Purpose (REAP) Women Entrepreneurship Project.
"The project will provide entrepreneurship and business management training, business coaching, mentoring, and acquire equipment and tools needed to start or grow the businesses of young women who are victims of sexual violence and abuse, who are unemployed, not in school, or have lost their livelihoods due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The main aim of the project is to help these women to overcome their obstacles and challenges by equipping them with the necessary skills to start or formalise their businesses, be economically empowered, and become agents of change within their families and communities," a statement from the organisation read in part.
Managing director at Bartley's All in Wood, Lacey-Ann Bartley encouraged 30 young women slated to benefit from the project to take on their entrepreneurial desires.
She spoke of her journey as an entrepreneur, having expanded her family woodwork business into handcrafting and customised gifts and furniture.
"Everything comes at a price…. You are not going to escape having a boss; your customers now become your boss. You always will have responsibility or accountability to somebody," she told her audience consisting of young people with entrepreneurial interests.