Area Four Police Civic Committee Educational Trust Fund Scholarship Ceremony

Scholarship awardees with (seated from left) Sargeant Gillian Faulknor; Chris Hind, CEO, JN General Insurance; Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager, JN Foundation; Wayne Wray, chairman, Area 4 Police Civic Committee; Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, Operations Officer for Police Area Four; Superintendent Tomielee Chambers, police Area 4 Community Safety and Security Division and Andrea Whyte, markets manager, KPMG Jamaica.

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100 Students Benefit from Scholarships

It was a proud moment for some 100 students who were recipients of scholarships presented by the Area Four Police Civic Committee Educational Trust Fund.
Lehana Osbourne from Ardenne High School, who was receiving the scholarship for the fifth time around, was elated to be again named a recipient.
“I feel honoured, because I tried my best to get this scholarship for the fifth time around; and I’m happy, because I have made my mother proud,” she said with pride.
Lehana was among the 100 students who were presented with the scholarships at a  ceremony, held at the Police Officers Club in Kingston, recently.
Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, who was the guest speaker at the ceremony, encouraged the students to grasp the opportunities afforded by the scholarship.
“Do you believe that you are special? Yes, you are because not many of us get this opportunity,” she pointed out. “It is a big deal when you were selected to receive this scholarship because it is taking a lot of stress off your parents; as they don’t have to worry about financing your education and can focus on pushing you to excel.”
Mrs Barrett Scott cautioned the students to be focused and continue to work hard; as they concentrate on studying and learning. She underscored that it was important to remember their humble beginnings, as this will keep them grounded.
She also encouraged the parents to support their children, as they embark on this journey by being involved parents. This involvement means that they should check the homework and ensure that assignments are done; that their children are punctual for school; attend parent-teacher meetings; and most of all, being their child’s biggest cheerleader, she stated.

Wayne Wray, chairman of the Area 4 Police Civic Committee, said that the concept behind the establishment of the Trust Fund was to target 12-18-year olds in the inner city, who were deemed to be at risk of dropping out of school and becoming easy prey to criminal elements.

Mr Wray said the Education Trust Fund was a result of a partnership between the police and private sector companies with the primary object to foster good relations and open conversation between the Jamaica Constabulary Force and members of the public in the Corporate Area.

“We often hear about operations to fight crime; but little do we hear about policemen and women who care about our communities so much, that they care about our children,” he said.

Established 19 years ago, the Education Trust Fund has awarded more than 1,200 scholarships to more than 500 students, to assist with their tuition, fees and books at 50 high schools in Kingston and St Andrew.

The following corporate donors: JN Foundation, JN General Insurance Company, KPMG, CGM Gallagher, and Trans-Jamaica Highway Limited among others, made the scholarship ceremony possible.

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Breast Cancer Survivor, Michelle Robinson, says “Her Faith and Family Support Make Her Push On”

The love of her family, her faith and the inner strength to keep living for her three children, made Michelle Robinson relentless in her fight against breast cancer, a diagnosis she received a year ago.
The 36 year old said that she knew something was wrong when she started to feel a pain in her left breast, which she ignored at first, however, the pain persisted.
“It was on Mothers’ Day and I was with my eldest son. We were watching a movie and I felt the aches,” she related during a #JN PowerofPink Think Tank Session:  Beyond Breast Cancer: Stories of Survival, on Miss Kitty LIVE ON Power 106, recently.
The educator said that on further self-examination, her fears were confirmed. “Later on, I decided to squeeze it, and I saw this brownish discharge emerging from one of my nipples. It was a shock for me, I held my son and started to cry.”
However, it was after visiting her doctor and doing an x-ray that she received the formal diagnosis. She had stage two breast cancer. That meant the cancer was growing and had extended to the nearby lymph nodes.
“I was devastated by the news, but, at the same time, because I know how God works, I decided to ‘take it to the Lord in prayer’ and that has been my mantra since the diagnosis,” she related.
She broke the news about her illness to her family members, who were downcast; and she realised that she had to be strong for them, as well. “The diagnosis was like a curve ball, but I was determined to keep batting,” she said.
Michelle immediately commenced her treatment, which involved surgery to remove the left breast and chemotherapy nine months later. She said the chemotherapy brought on nauseous feelings, loss of her eye lashes, hair, loose bowels, discoloured nails, and left a metallic taste in her mouth. So far, she has done 16 chemotherapy sessions and hopes that at her next doctor’s visit she will not have to do any more treatment.

However, the diagnosis forced her to change her lifestyle. An introvert by nature, whose life simply involved going to work and home, Michelle decided that she would start enjoying life, therefore, she began to participate in activities which she enjoyed.
“I found a new lease on life. Occasionally, I would go out and play pool, and I started to look at life totally different. Now, I am more comfortable and at peace,” she said.
The loss of her hair was another stage of the cancer which she had to embrace. She opted not to wear a wig and accepted her baldness. That decision not only motivated her; but encouraged other women affected by the disease.
Michelle was also forced to change her diet. As a result, she reduced her sugar intake; increased eating fruits and vegetables; as well as, eliminated red meat, processed foods and alcohol, in her diet.
“It was life changing,” she related, “One had to make so many changes, and it was not for one month or two months, but for a lifetime, and the change was immediate.”
But for Michelle, her journey has been bearable, because of her faith in the Lord and the strong support from her family members, who have been ‘her shelter in the time of storm.’ She highlighted the close bond with her mother, Catherine Knight, who kept her persevering.
“We now appreciate each other so much more. The thing is that, we don’t know how long we will have with each other, therefore, one needs to embrace every moment you have together. Tell them you love them and hug them,” she said with a pensive look.
“When you are faced with so many challenges being diagnosed with cancer, if you don’t have that support, it will make you give up easily. But, when you have support, it will make you press on,” she informed.
On learning about her daughter’s illness, Ms Knight said she was shocked. But, as the shock wore off, she supported her daughter, the last of her four children.
Last year, 974 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in Jamaica. Data from the Jamaica Cancer Society also revealed that approximately 60 per cent of breast cancer cases diagnosed in Jamaica are among women between the ages of 25 and 59 years.
The #JN Power-of-Pink Think Tank Session was the second in a three-part series of conversations about breast cancer, which was part of The Jamaica National Group’s campaign to raise awareness about how to prevent breast cancer and educate them about the symptoms, early detection and treatment.

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Trelawny gets hurricane supplies

Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Collin Gager, is taking the 2019 Hurricane Season very seriously, as he stocks up on hurricane tools, and prepares residents in the event of a disaster.

“Our biggest fear here in Falmouth is flooding. Therefore, we need to ensure that we take the proper precautions, in the event there is a hurricane, we are prepared,” he said.

Gager informed that the Trelawny Municipal Corporation was cleaning drains and replenishing its hurricane supplies, which include equipment to cut down trees, shovels to clean drains and blockage, among other resources.

“What would happen if we were to receive the amount of rainfall which fell in The Bahamas? It would be something to reckon with. Therefore, we need to be prepared. We must ensure that our staff and disaster coordinators are well organised and have the necessary tools,” he explained.

In response to the needs of the Corporation, the JN Foundation presented hurricane supplies, including saws, shovels, water boots and raincoats, to assist with its disaster preparedness.

“We are happy to assist in addressing the needs of the council by providing these essential equipment,” Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said at the handing over event recently.

Gager pointed out that over the years, the parish has been affected by flooding in vulnerable communities such as Wakefield and Troy.

“Therefore, we ensure that we do proper drain cleaning and clear the sinkholes, to allow water to run off. In addition, we also educate our people about the importance of keeping the sinkholes free and clear,” he said.

See the original article here!

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JN Group, IDB Offer Rainwater Harvesting Training To Developers

In a bid to build local capacity to design and install a variety of water-efficient measures in the housing sector, the Jamaica National Group, in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has launched a 16-week training programme about rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling.

The training programme, which was officially launched on September 11 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, will benefit developers, architects, engineers, practising designers, and builders, as well as implementers of rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling systems.The training is being offered through the JN Water Project, which is being managed by the JN Foundation and was designed to address water-management issues, primarily related to climate change. The project, which commenced in March 2017, is a four-year collaboration among the JN Foundation, JN Bank, the IDB, the Climate Investment Funds, and the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the training initiative will seek to drive behaviour change in building practices and encourage a new approach to how we build houses to cope with new climate realities, particularly fluctuations in water supplies due to extended periods of drought.

“It is also aimed at householders. Whether we own the home or not, we are able to practise certain conservation measures at our places of abode, and the overall combination of those actions helps to promote a better response to climate change, which we are now facing,” she said.

Therese Turner-Jones, general manager and country representative for Jamaica at the IDB, said that it was commendable that the private sector was being engaged in this way through the training initiative.

“Bringing developers together on this particular issue and having JN and the IDB as partners on this project is significant because we are moving beyond the theory of why we need to be doing this,” she said.

Robert Stephens, consultant on the Water Project, said that the objectives of the training for participants are to develop an appreciation for rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling, identify characteristics and the mistakes that can be made, and identify how to avoid these mistakes in building out the systems.

He said that they will be taught how to design and implement rainwater harvesting systems, in addition to costing those systems. The training programme will also examine the components of rainwater harvesting systems, the water-saving devices that can be implemented by homeowners to save water, and factors that affect water quality and water standards.

The course will be delivered weekly via face-to-face sessions and online. The class sessions will be held from September to December.

See the original article here!

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Growth & Jobs | Be Financially Literate – Miller

Not being financially literate can be costly, Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation and head of the JN BeWi$e financial empowerment programme, says.

She noted that while there was no available data about the cost of financial illiteracy in Jamaica, information from the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2016-2020) said financial literacy was low; and many Jamaicans do not understand some basic principles to better manage their personal finance.

In 2012, a demand-side financial capability survey was implemented by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in partnership with the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). That survey revealed that while the level of financial literacy among Jamaicans is comparable to persons in other countries in most areas, there is room for significant improvement.

For example: in basic financial knowledge, in terms of the time value of money; identifying and calculating the impact of interest compounding on savings; and behaviours, such as short-term money management.

Miller emphasised that “being financially illiterate can be expensive, because not only will you not see opportunities, but others who do will not hesitate to take advantage of your ignorance.”

She added that poor money management leads financially illiterate persons to pay exorbitant interest fees to “payday lenders” with high interest rates.

That was the case of Gary Gregory (name changed on request), a communication specialist who found himself in a financial bind and needed a quick loan to address an emergency.

“It was the beginning of my nightmare,” Gregory lamented. “I ended up paying three times what I borrowed because the interest rate was ridiculous. I wished that I had read the fine print prior to entering into such a loan agreement.”

However, Tanya McKenzie (name changed on request), who was more exposed and financially literate, was able to save thousands of dollars when she decided to purchase a refrigerator she needed with her credit card, rather than taking it out on hire purchase.

“I would have paid triple the cost if I went the hire purchase route, instead of using my credit card to make the purchase,” she informed. “It took me two months to pay off my credit card, as opposed to 18 to 24 months, had I opted for hire purchase.”

Miller commended McKenzie for her prudent financial decision, pointing out that this was an instance of someone using their credit card wisely.

She advised, “That access to credit cards represent funds loaned to you by a creditor to make purchases and pay the bill at a later date. You can avoid paying interest and racking up a debt, which you will later struggle to repay, by paying your bill in full, on time, all the time.”

Miller also explained that it was important to select the right credit card, one which is suitable for your needs; in addition, one should read and fully understand the terms of the agreement.

“Utilising a credit card helps you save your money and use funds loaned to you; it is also a good tool in cases of emergency,” she added.

However, Miller noted that being financially literate takes some effort. She said each person should seek to improve their knowledge about financial matters, such as: investing and the various options available, estate planning, how credit cards work, credit scores, saving for the future, real estate, insurance and planning for retirement, among others. “This area is as wide as the ocean,” she quipped.

“Do not attempt to understand all of these topics at one time,” she added. “Rather, tackle one topic at a time and be committed to continuous learning. Start with the subject you are most interested in learning about; and, then move on to another, and another, and gradually build a solid foundation of financial know-how.”

Some other practical ways to improve financial literacy, she stated, would be to take a financial literacy class, which could be a short course about how to manage your finances, watch videos and access many other financial resources online.

Miller informed that today, the media is also a great source of information to improve one’s financial IQ. “Persons can learn effective money management strategies from local radio and television programmes; through print media; and online, via financial websites.”

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MSMEs Urged To Invest In Stocks To Generate Wealth

Rose Miller, grants manager, JN Foundation, has urged entrepreneurs to take responsibility for their financial education as this would improve their capacity and broaden their options for investing in areas such as stocks and mutual fund while diversifying their investment portfolio and increasing their potential to generate wealth.

Miller, who also heads JN BeWi$e Financial Empowerment Programme, was one of the presenters at the Business Mentorship and Accelerator Programme Workshop hosted by JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) at the St James Methodist Church in May Pen, Clarendon, recently. The workshop focused on financial planning, record keeping, marketing and cash flow management, goal setting and preparing business plans.

“Approximately 15 per cent of Jamaicans own stocks and shares. Unfortunately, that figure is low because investing in stocks can be a game-changer to help you on your journey towards financial independence. However, many persons do not invest because of ignorance or fear,” Miller said.

“We need to take time out to increase our knowledge and learn about the various investment options that are available. Listen to radio programmes, read books or articles in the newspapers, watch videos on YouTube, all of which will enhance your knowledge about investing and enable you to be more comfortable about these types of investments,” she said.

She added that entrepreneurs who are unsure of how to invest, should speak with a broker or an investment adviser, who will guide them through the process and decide which approach and what type of investment is best for them.

“Some of you may not have the time, or are afraid of the risks associated with purchasing shares directly. The alternative is to open an account with an investment firm, such as JN Fund Managers, who employ trained professionals to manage the funds on your behalf via their suite of mutual funds. When you invest in mutual funds, you actually have ownership in several of the companies listed on the stock exchange,” she explained.

The grants manager told participants that they should take advantage of opportunities presented by initial public offerings, as this is a good entry point to start building your portfolio. However, investors must be prepared to wait for gains, which sometimes may not materalise until the medium or long term, although it is possible to get some appreciation in the short term.

“For example, if you had invested in Wigton WindFarm shares, when it was offered at 50 cents per share, you could have made at least 25 per cent on the sum you invested,” she said. “If you had bought the Sagicor Select shares for $1, you would also have seen some appreciation. By not investing in stocks, you are missing out on significant opportunities to generate wealth.”

Jacqueline Shaw-Nicholson, communication and client services manager, JNSBL, explained that the workshop was hosted as part of a wider programme to provide financial-management support to its clients.

“The Mentorship and Accelerator programme is part of JNSBL’s thrust to provide meaningful support and training to our clients, to assist them to sustain and grow their businesses,” Shaw-Nicholson explained.

“MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-size enterprises) require support throughout their business journey. The support required will depend on where they are in their business life cycle. The clients at the May Pen workshop received well-needed guidance about good business and financial management techniques for growth, and how to market, as well as keep, proper records,” she said.

Shalena Collins, a sandal maker, said that she benefited from the information that was presented.

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JN Foundation’s PEP Scholars Urged To ‘Live In The Wow’

For the next five years, the parents or guardians of 37 Jamaica National (JN) scholars should encounter a little less stress on their pockets after their charges turned out outstanding performances in this year’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations.

The students will benefit from five-year scholarships awarded by the JN Foundation.

All the recipients were recognised at a special PEP Awards Reception held yesterday at the bank’s Half-Way Tree Road location in St Andrew.

The scholarship awards have been ongoing since 1983 and have benefited hundreds of students at the secondary and tertiary levels.

This year, the theme was ‘Live In The Wow’, and dancehall artiste Agent Sasco was invited to deliver the keynote address.

“‘Live in the wow’ is not just about living, it’s about living a particular way, and I would imagine the ‘wow’ to me suggests that it’s something to ‘wow’ about. So you want to live a life that you’re going to ‘wow’ about, and the most important part of that to me is living the life that you will ‘wow’ about and not necessarily somebody else’s. So it’s not about living for people to ‘wow’ about your life,” Sasco said as he broke down the theme to the scholars.

He gave the youngsters tips about believing, success, and endless possibilities.

“I really would like for you to know that your dreams are the foundation of what can allow you to live in the ‘wow’, and don’t think of them as dreams or unattainable fantasies that you just dream of. I did that and somehow found my way in doing it because, I guess, once you dream enough and still entertain that idea that it is possible, it naturally becomes so,” Sasco told the JN scholars.

Candace Ramsay, a 2014 JN Scholarship recipient who now attends St Andrew High School for Girls, recently attained nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, all with distinctions.

During her testimonial to the 2019 recipients, Ramsay said: “This scholarship made life a whole lot easier for my parents as year after year, my school fees were being covered, which meant that they had money for more important matters. ”

This year, the awardees were made up of three groups: the Parish Scholarship Recipients, JN School Savers, and JN Group Employees’ Children.

Lepert Thomas, grandfather of St Thomas’s top PEP student, Tiffany DeCambre, expressed his gratitude at seeing her being awarded for her hard work.

“I am grateful and I am expecting well of her,” Thomas told The Gleaner.

“I am expecting that she will hold up her end of the bargain; to continue being the good student that I know she is. She has been good. She is also the reigning Spelling Bee Champion for St Thomas two years in a row. This is another tick up for her, and I am expecting her to do great things.”

Tiffany, a past student of Airy Castle Primary, now attends Immaculate Conception High School and says she would like to become a veterinarian.

Phoebe Falconer (Clarendon), Annaliese Foster (Hanover), Ari East (Kingston), Ruthvick Goddendla (Manchester), Trae Wenden (Portland), Sebastian Wright (St Andrew), Tafari Jackson (St Ann), Joshua Thompson (St Catherine), Joel Williams (St Elizabeth), Anastasia Wainright (St James), Nathaniel Cohall (St Mary), Sanasha Green (Trelawny), and Tyra Reeves (Westmoreland) rounded out the JN PEP parish scholars who were identified by the Ministry of Education.

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Don’t Stress Over Last Minute Shopping – Miller

With the new school year set to start in just a matter of days, Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation, is advising parents who are behind with their back-to-school shopping to “try not to stress”.

“It is easy to stress when you are behind on any task, but stress and panic will only make the situation far worse,” she said.

Miller, who is also head of the JN Bank BeWi$e financial empowerment programme, said the key is for parents to get organised and to start the process immediately.

“Though you’re shopping in a rush, you don’t want to overspend or to buy what you don’t need,” she advised.“Whether you’re starting out early or late, the principles to carry out your back-to-school shopping remain the same.”

She also noted that while the last-minute shopper might be working with very limited time, they are still in a position to take advantage of deals, and save on the cost of books and other school supplies for their children.

“Your first objective is to prepare a list and prioritise them, dealing with the most important items first; a budget should then be prepared. Uniforms and textbooks should generally be at the top of the list,” she stated.

Miller advised that parents don’t have to buy everything new, simply because it’s a new school year.

“It may be advisable to examine the condition of the uniforms your child has now to see if they fit and in a condition where they can still be worn,” she stated. Based on this, parents can then decide whether new uniforms are required.”

She noted that the same rule can be applied to items such as lunch kits, school bags, shoes and igloos. “This is why it is important to not only buy quality products, so that they last a longer time, but to also teach children how to take care of the items, thus reducing the need to purchase the same items each year.”

As regards textbooks, Miller noted that if funds are tight and parents are unable to buy all the required books at once, they must speak with their child’s teacher to ascertain which of the books are most essential, as opposed to those that can be purchased at a later date.

“In this way, you will be able to ensure that your child has the most important books for the first few months of the school year,” she reasoned.

The JN Foundation grants manager added that when purchasing textbooks, parents should do their research, shop around, and try to access books, at the most affordable prices.

“Use the telephone or go online; and, you won’t waste time and gas driving around from store to store,” she advised. “Also, it is still not too late to ask friends and relatives to help you source used textbooks.”

Miller also recommended that saving for back-to-school expenses is critical, pointing out that parents should have started putting money aside months ago.

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