GoodHeart | Never underestimate the power of human contact
One thing we can surely take away from 2021 is never to underestimate the power of human contact and how one kind gesture can change lives. It also reminded us that in the midst of pain and sadness, there is always good in the world. The initiatives highlighted in our GoodHeart section ranged from individuals to foundations giving back to underserved communities, the healthcare system and the nation’s children. Each and every story moved us, but here is a recap of the top-10 stories that not only demonstrated but inspired good in 2021.
1. The Torringtons use their talent to help the less fortunate
With clear familial ties to India through his great grandfather, Chad Torrington, professionally known as dancer ‘Global Bob’, felt a great duty to assist the people of India, where more than 32 million COVID-19 cases have been reported since March 2020. He launched an initiative to help India’s Nayati Healthcare with the help of Indian choreographer Jahnavi. Together they raised US$447, which aided the purchase of 50 ventilators for the facility. Meanwhile, through her fashion brand Deluxe Couture, Chad’s wife Amanda has been feeding Kingston’s homeless by using the proceeds from various collections she has created.
2. Kicks for Life initiative leaves footprints on lives islandwide
It was a natural fit when the leadership of three foundations, Kicks For Kids, Life Yard and Every Mikkle, in their search for an initiative, were provided with a collection of Clarks Originals to give away just in time for the new school year last September. According to Khalil Munroe, managing director of the Kicks For Kids Foundation, the impact of the initiative was far-reaching and not only put smiles on the faces of children, but parents who were also gifted with pairs of the popular footwear. “We are happy with the number of homes we were able to bring smiles into with this gesture. In 2022, we hope to partner again with Clarks Originals and create an even greater impact,” Munroe said.
3. Bradley Richards starts single mother foundation to honour late mother
Losing a mother is one of the deepest sorrows a heart can know. For Bradley Richards, the memory of his mother, Erica Badley and her love of the finer things in life not only comforted him but inspired him to start a foundation. After her death, following a two-year battle with stage-four colon cancer, Richards discovered an opportunity to keep her legacy alive by starting a non-profit organisation called the Erica Badley Single Mother Foundation. It was launched last year on his late mother’s birthday on October 26.
4. CASE graduate hoping to fulfil vet dream
Kelsey Jones is determined to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine. Having graduated from the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), where she attained an associate of science degree in veterinary science, she secured a place at St George’s University in Grenada. In an effort to acquire the funds for her tuition, she created a GoFundMe campaign on May 31, with a goal of US$34,000. Jones was proud to share that she completed her first semester in a follow-up interview with The Gleaner. Although the goal was not met, she said: “The publicity and donations received have been quite a help, and persons reached out outside the GoFundMe. It has started off on a good foot, but as the years progress, I know there will always be an expense, and I am trying my best to meet it.”
5. Tivoli Gardens High students receive tablets from alumni
Twenty Tivoli Gardens High School students were gifted with tablets purchased through alumni donations at a special handover ceremony on November 30, 2021. Leading the initiative was Cleve Laing, president of the Tivoli Gardens High School Alumni Track Corporation, more popularly known as Lt Stitchie. After the ceremony, the reggae-gospel recording artiste interacted with some of the students, which he said was a heart-warming experience. “I am just so elated for the students and the school,” Lt Stitchie said.
6. NFL players in outreach group planning initiative for Jamaica in 2022
South Florida-based Through Our Eyes Foundation, whose members include several National Football League (NFL) players, announced plans for an outreach trip to Jamaica in 2022. Its most recent donation to Grange Hill and Little London high schools in Westmoreland, which included tablets, school supplies, masks and sanitisers, was valued at US$1,500 ($232,126). Plans for its next initiative will be in the form of a sports camp to learn American football, which is expected to take place during the NFL’s off-season when no games are scheduled, said Jon LeSane, executive director of the foundation.
7. Ibrahim Konteh helps send children to school with Diaspora For Children Foundation
“If we can ease the financial burden Jamaican families are currently facing, so they can worry less about school supplies during this rough pandemic season, then mission accomplished,” Ibrahim Konteh, executive director of Diaspora For Children Foundation, told GoodHeart in his interview. By spearheading the organisation and running a campaign on GoFundMe, he was able to send 120 students to school for the start of the new school year in September. To date, the GoFundMe campaign has raised US$ 2,500 of its US$5,000 target.
8. Diane Pollard’s big heart beating for philanthropic projects
President and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF) Diane Pollard always wanted to run a non-profit but could not imagine what it would be like. She finally saw it come to fruition when she started volunteering as the foundation’s vice-president of operations at the start of its programmes. The mission of ITF has been heavily rooted in community building and improving health care, so naturally, during the pandemic, Pollard saw the need to get involved. They donated a 40-foot container of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, defibrillators, nebulisers, and ultrasound machines in the western region. For the entire year, Pollard has managed to pilot the foundation in the right direction, from executing different initiatives such as the ‘Vision Mission’ that assists children in getting tested glasses to helping the Ministry of Health to provide what is required, down to hand sanitisers.
9. Rockhouse Foundation raises more than US$257,000 at benefit dinner
No matter the situation, the Rockhouse Foundation will find a way to host its annual benefit dinner as the proceeds go towards transforming the lives of Jamaica’s children and teachers. Last year, the organisers executed the dinner at Joe’s Pub in The Public Theatre in downtown New York, where it raised more than US$257,000. The Rockhouse Foundation was established in 2003 by the owners of the Rockhouse and Skylark hotels. To date, it has invested millions in developing local schools in Westmoreland and the Negril Public Library.
10. Let’s Get Colouring campaign helping children combat stress and anxiety
In an effort to combat childhood stress and anxiety, Amashika & Associates Limited executed free online colouring workshops for children islandwide and in the diaspora under the Let’s Get Colouring campaign. Amashika Lorne, the principal of Amashika & Associates Limited, executed the online sessions under the name Colour With Aunty Ama, which commenced in January 2021. Through the campaign, 207 activity packs were donated to schools and community groups, and there are plans to continue through 2022. “There are special activities being planned around Jamaica 60,” Lorne recently shared. “I am currently writing grant proposals for funding and welcome persons to partner with us to continue our campaign. For next month, which is when we celebrate Reggae Month, the Ministry of Culture has invited us to come on board again and this time around, we will be hosting a virtual session every Saturday for February.”