By Derrick Scott
Washington, DC – More than 190 members of The Links, Incorporated, are set to return to Montego Bay, Jamaica on January 23rd, on another humanitarian mission to benefit education, health care and welfare for the island nation’s schools and students.
By the end of the four-day visit – their third since 2016 – the organization of African-American women connected in friendship and service will have invested altogether about one million dollars in the economy and devoted over 5,000 volunteer service hours.
The delegation’s ultimate goal is to make a sustainable impact and create lasting partnerships in communities of need throughout Jamaica.
Links members and their families, a record number attending this year, will bring a variety of school supplies, including books and pens – all basic tools needed for better education – to share with students and their families. Included in the donations are 160 Kindle Fire tablets to support youth technology interests and efforts.
As in past years, led by the organization’s president, Dr. Glenda Newell-Harris, the delegation will visit the partner schools during the three-year project: St. Mary’s Preparatory, Mt. Zion Primary and Watford Hill Primary schools.
The visit will focus on five program areas: technology presentations, anti-bullying training, arts, oral and physical hygiene, and CPR training for 4th graders to 6th graders.
Dr. Newell-Harris is proud of The Links, Incorporated’s legacy of work and believes the 2018 journey will be the best yet. Through collaboration and sponsorship by Colgate’s dental education program, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, The organisation has help improve the students’ oral hygiene by providing onsite dental exams to the children at all three schools.
Support from sponsors such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has also enabled members to finance and implement resource specialists to the educators who are focusing on teaching enhanced reading, writing and math practices.
“While our aim has been to extend helping hands of friendship and service to those with whom we interact and connect with in Jamaica, this trip is one of mutual transformation,” said Dr. Newell-Harris. “Our members are so excited about the opportunity to return to share and enjoy an experience that is as meaningful to us as it is to our Jamaican colleagues. Our hands-on involvement with students and teachers allows us to give to those who may benefit from our resources. It also enables us to live out the mission of our organization in real time. We look forward to making a difference in the lives of our children, who are our future, on the beautiful island nation of Jamaica.”