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Jeun’Espoir Jamaïque

Jeun’Espoir Jamaïque is a group of 15 teenagers from Orléans, Ontario, Canada. In March of 2003, during their scheduled school holiday, the youths ranging from ages 17 to19 traveled to the poverty-stricken areas of Kingston, Jamaica. They were accompanied by 5 adult missionaries who were using the experience to express their solidarity and concern for the needy of the Third World.

During the visit, the group traveled to areas of Kingston, lending their assistance in various projects ranging from construction & painting, to cleaning & social work. They devoted their time, energy, love and vacation in order to help some of the most impoverished inhabitants of our world.

It is an experience that truly enriches our young people and leaves no one indifferent. Armed with an eagerness to make a difference, the group returned home with a greater consciousness not only with regards to social injustice but the experience expanded their knowledge of another culture and better prepared them for involvment in their community. .

After the events of 9/11, Jeun’Espoir Jamaïque public funding was cut. Other attempts to discourage their continued participation in this outreach, failed. Their personal contribution and involvement to this program was far more important than any physical deterrents or financial constraints. The group devised an effective fundraising focus and overcame those obstacles with great success.

Each participant contributes financially to substantiate his or her engagement and takes part in various fundraisers to pay the trips numerous expenses such as tools, wood and paint. A combined effort each participant had to contribute a total of $1,300 CDN.

In the months leading up to their annual trip, they raised approximately $24,000 CDN to cover costs of building materials and tools, clothing, sports equipment and miscellaneous items for the elderly & abandoned children of Jamaica. The visit during their short ten day stay on the Island was a sheer delight.

On arrival in Jamaica, Sister Grace, of the Franciscan Ministries arranged their accommodations, as well as their list of duties. Logistics for building a house, a climbing structure for school children and itinerary for their time at the Marigold Centre for Abused and Abandoned Children, as well as the Eira Schader Residence for Seniors were conveniently arranged.

In October 2002, the Jamaican (Ottawa) Community Association Inc. made a special presentation to Jeun’Espoir Jamaique for their Outstanding Community Service, at their annual Jamaica’s National Heroes’ Gala.

2003 not only brings the organizers and participants the satisfaction of meeting high fundraising goals. The additional fulfillment which their successful efforts has encouraged is manifold. The development and addition of a second functioning group, with the assistance & cooperation of another High School, other devoted groups of teachers and parents and more dedicated and responsible students. In the not too distant future, (organizers have confided) they will be setting up an additional program – Destination Africa!

Much respect to Andre and Jeun’Espoir Jamaique and all who contribute to and support their efforts! Please take the time to visit their web pages to get a better idea as to the depth of their program and their commitment to provide community services at home and abroad. Also see what OUR youth have been doing during their formative years. The beauty is, it’s not only their own lives that are being enriched, they are touching the lives of so many others.

For more information visit the Jeun’Espoir Jamaique Web Site.

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Staff Writer