Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Glynis Salmon: Changing lives

Published:Saturday | October 9, 2021 | 12:07 AMShanna Monteith - Gleaner Writer

Glynis Salmon speaks of her philanthropic work.
Glynis Salmon speaks of her philanthropic work.

Publisher Glynis Salmon is a woman who rallies others around to execute with glorious purpose.

“I am a Christian; I believe in the principle - Deny yourself so that you can love each other more. There’s no other way to put it. But I’m reminded daily that to God belongs all the glory. I have to declare that,” she shared.

It is that faith that brought Salmon into the life of a young girl named Susie* and her family, resulting in a remarkable giving circle.

“There are some children at my church. I’ve always cultivated their interests, financially and socially. They come to church and I chat with them, give them things, get to know them. But one of them stood out to me because she seemed even less advantaged than the others,” Salmon explained.

Soon, a friendship blossomed between the two, and Salmon learned that her young friend lived in the community of Tarrant.

“Now, I am from Balaclava. I’m not very knowledgeable about some town areas, but I picked myself up one day and found myself on Ambrook Lane. I was saying to myself, ‘You know you can’t go down there’. But then I heard God saying, ‘You can’t say you love and fear at the same time’.”

To her dismay, the family’s home had no front door - opening to a space Salmon describes as an enclave.

“Six people in a tiny dwelling, and their grandfather on another side. My attitude immediately switched into project mode because these human beings were having a challenge,” she said.

Just past the space meant for a door, the family shared one bed, another mattress on blocks and ply board, a chest of drawers and a barrel.

“So when you give them clothes, they become disposable. Where are they going to put them, or even food? Food is stored in a keg hung on the ceiling, if you want to call it that -to keep rats and roaches out. Sometimes that is why people forage for food every day. These folks are not in a civilised environment, and I’m sure, as bad as their situation is, others are worse,” Salmon remarked.

Salmon knew she had to do something, and, with the help of her friend, well-known HR specialist Pat Kitson, she started renovations, but it was soon apparent she was entirely out of her depth. She shared that the realisation prompted her to take a step back, before hearing the voice of God asking ‘Oh, it’s all about you now?’

BUILDING MATERIALS

So she called another church sister, Dianne Ashton-Smith. The ask was modest enough for Salmon’s cold call to Ashton-Smith, a $5,000 contribution towards building materials.

Ashton-Smith, too, went into project mode.

“Dianne shared that she was a member of the board of the D&G Foundation, and while she didn’t know the extent to which they could help, she suggested that I apply for funding,” Salmon added.

The following morning, there was an assessor at the home, and in a few days, Salmon’s giving circle was closed-- the D&G Foundation committed to completing the structure.

“This is why corporations need to have servant leaders, those who look beyond corporate responsibilities and are committed to advancement. She gave me a chance to ask her for help, and her servant leader’s heart will take this overwhelming project farther than I could take it on my own,” Salmon shared.

This is not Salmon’s first philanthropic intervention. Last Christmas, she assisted a Rose Town resident in completing her own home in time for the holidays.

“In terms of loving people and responding to good things, it’s a way of being. And I’m a champion for the underdog. So my young friend, it has to mean something to her that somebody comes forward and helps her family secure a front door, game-changer for the quality of life for her entire family.” She continued, “Each time I do these projects, as much as I give, I get so much more. It has seeped into my understanding, all the different human conditions and realities, and it makes me love even more.”

*Names have been changed to protect the family’s identity.