JN Scholars Urged to Strive for Greatness

Although Kasi Abbott, a first form student of Knox College in Manchester, has known for weeks that she is one of 47 students to be awarded the JN Foundation Primary Exit profile (PEP) Scholarship for 2022, she remains just as elated, as if she had only received the news yesterday.

“I feel like my hard work in PEP paid off. All the studying and preparation that I did have been rewarded with this scholarship that I received,” she said. 

The 11 year-old was among the 47 accepting their awards at a celebratory ceremony on Sunday (October 2) organised by JN Foundation at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St. Andrew to recognise the achievement of the youngsters who came from across the country.

Held under the theme, ‘Reignite the Greatness in You’, Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, urged the pre-adolescents to strive for “greatness.”

“As you embark on your educational journey, which will also help to mould your character, I urge you, all 47 of you, our scholars, to believe in yourselves and your ‘greatness’ and strive for excellence, just like Nelson Mandela did,” she charged.

Parris Lyew-Ayee (left), chairman of the JN Foundation congratulates Kasi Abbott, scholarship recipient at the JN Foundation PEP scholarship awards on Sunday, October 2.

Parris Lyew-Ayee, chairman of the JN Foundation, who also addressed the recipients, said that since 1983, The Jamaica National Group has been supporting the educational pursuits of hundreds of young people at both the secondary and tertiary levels. “This year we received close to 400 applications for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Scholarships. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the needs of all the applicants, however,

fortunately, this year, we are introducing 10 one-time offer grants through, JN Money Services Limited,” he revealed.

Mr Lyew-Ayee underscored that an educated population is important to nation-building and economic growth and, therefore, investing in education should be priority.

Referencing the development of Japan after World War II and the emergence of Taiwan, he demonstrated how prioritising education can transform the fortunes of a nation. 

“The Japanese people committed themselves to building a first-class education system. The result was decades of impressive economic growth, during which Japan became an economic powerhouse and the world’s third-largest economy,” he said.

“We can become a great nation if we focus on building an educated population, and that is why the JN Foundation, in its own way, takes seriously its contribution to ensuring that our nation’s children are not denied an education,” he said.

The JN Foundation chairman disclosed that the Foundation will be recalibrating its scholarship programme, to further strengthen its relationship with its scholars. This he said included rolling out a mentorship programme to create a space where the scholars can interact with The JN Group senior leadership team.

“We encourage our scholars and parents to look out for this and other exciting initiatives and events that will be specifically catered with you in mind. Some of the other activities will include career development, networking among JN scholars as peers and financial literacy sessions, through our very soon to be launched, JN Financial Academy,” he said.

Ruth Lawrence, youth empowerment specialist, entrepreneur and author was guest speaker at the function and encouraged the recipients to “dig” for success.  “Young people your vision is not too big to achieve if you set your mind to it. Get your vision board and set it up. Believe in yourself that you can do it,” she said.

Read more

Reimaging Jamaican Communities

JN Foundation Launches Photo Advocacy Competition to Commemorate Jamaica 60

The ‘Greatness through the lens’ photo-advocacy competition, which invites persons passionate about photography and community advocacy to enter, was recently launched by the JN Foundation.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said the competition was conceptualised to celebrate Jamaica’s 60th year of independence, under the national theme: Re-igniting a Nation for Greatness.

Claudine Allen

“This competition will encourage Jamaican photographers to bring awareness to the unseen ‘helpers/advocates’ whose voluntary service engender positive change for vulnerable communities and advances the preservation of our environment,” she noted.

Ms Allen said the competition is aimed at recording, capturing and documenting imagery drawn from several locations and experiences common to the Jamaican people, and to provide space and opportunity for Jamaicans to celebrate, express or advocate issues and elements echoing in Jamaican society using photography.

The JN Foundation general manager said the intention is to build the competence of photographers across the island, and equip them with technical skills to effectively advocate by capturing and showcasing their unique interpretations of the theme.

“We hope to create a catalogue of 20 to 30 images that tells our story in an impactful way…depicting greatness of our people through the lens,” she disclosed.

Deadline for entries is October 31. Students and adult photographers are invited to register and participate in the competition at the following link: https://www.jnfoundation.com/jamaica-60-photo-competition/#register.  

Participants must be Jamaican, whether by birth or naturalization, and must submit along with an application, a test photo. They will also be required to commit to attending two training sessions. Student entries will be adjudged in the primary and secondary categories.

Cleveland-based photojournalist, specialising in editorial and environmental portraits, Radcliffe ‘Ruddy’ Roye, will be one of two master photographers who will help entrants to improve their skills during the competition.

Radcliffe Ruddy Roye

Roye, who is Jamaican, has more than 20 years of experience and is inspired by the raw and gritty lives of grassroots people, especially those in Jamaica. Radcliffe strives to tell the stories of their victories and ills by bringing their voices to social media and the matte-fiber paper.

He has worked with magazines such as National Geographic, the New York Times, Time Magazine, Vogue, Jet, Ebony, ESPN and Essence.  Mr Roye honed his skill as a photojournalist by working as an Associated Press stringer in New York. He is also known for his documentation of the dancehall scene.

Stuart Reeves, a seasoned educator with years of experience in Jamaica and his native country, England, is the other trainer for the competition. A former school principal, he is an established trainer and has previously worked with the JN Foundation in a similar capacity.

Read more

JN Foundation Awards 47 PEP Scholarships and Grants

Parris Lyew-Ayee (seated, centre) Chairman, JN Foundation and Onyka  Barrett Scott (seated, third right) then General Manager of the JN Foundation, celebrate the achievements of the 2019 JN Scholars at the JN Scholarship Reception held at the JN Bank Half Way Tree Branch on September 8.

With secondary education being a major focus of the JN Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Jamaica National Group, the organisation has maintained its commitment to empower future leaders at this level to achieve academic success through the award of 37 five-year scholarships and 10 grants to students across the island who have excelled in this year’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP).  Twenty of the awardees are children of employees.

The recipients will be formally recognised as JN Scholars at a scholarship reception to be held on September 25.

This year’s scholarship recipients join more than 100 JN Scholars, who are at various stages in their five-year secondary school journey, and have had their scholarship renewed for this  school year.

Since 1983, The Jamaica National Group has been supporting the educational pursuits of hundreds of young people at both secondary and tertiary levels. The scholarship awards are one of its largest benevolent efforts.

Claudine Allen, General Manager of the JN Foundation, explained that the investment in the education of students at the secondary school level is important in helping to nurture and develop their leadership skills while they are in their formative years.

“The secondary school experience is a significant phase of a child’s educational journey.  It is at this stage that students begin to acquire knowledge and skills through training that can help them excel academically and explore various career options.  And, it is at this level that children develop important life skills such as teamwork and critical thinking which help to prepare them for adulthood and their chosen careers,” she said, noting that the JN Foundation’s programme features new capacity development support for scholars and grant recipients.

“As the education needs of Jamaicans evolve, we anticipate that our programmes will evolve to better meet those needs as we work to ensure that Jamaicans thrive at home and abroad,” she added.

For several years, The Jamaica National Group has provided financial support for educational initiatives such as The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee competition.  Also, since 2001, the organisation has maintained a financial literacy programme, JN Bank Easi Save, at the basic, primary and secondary levels to foster sound money management among children

“Our support of secondary education, not only from the scholarship perspective, but the programmes that the JN Foundation has championed in education leadership, technology and science, supports our intent of enriching lives and building communities,” Miss Allen stated. 

The JN Foundation established the iLead education leadership programme in 2014 in partnership with the Ministry of Education, now the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, to work closely with 15 underperforming primary and secondary schools in St. Mary, Portland and St. Thomas over a three-year period to transform them into centres of excellence.

The JN Foundation received more than 400 PEP scholarship applications through its website for this year’s PEP Scholarship award.  As part of the eligibility for the scholarship, the child or parent is required to be a member, customer, or client of The Jamaica National Group for at least one year. 

Read more

Seniors Urged to Pay Attention to Day-to-Day Finances

Rose Miller, team lead of the JN BeWi$e financial empowerment programme, underscores the importance for persons to carefully manage their day-to-day finances, at all times and in all seasons of live but particularly during retirement.

This she said in particular when income is oftentimes reduced and the pensioners still have to navigate high inflation, the upward movement in the price of food, medication and other goods and services.

Mrs Miller stressed the importance of budgeting during this season of life, as it is easy to overspend when a close eye is not kept on purchases.

“As a pensioner, not only are you faced with reduced income, increased prices but significantly, many seniors as they age must also factor in increased cost of healthcare and the cost of long term care and assistance if and when you are no longer able to manage on your own.  Therefore, it is important to be thrifty in your spending,” she explained.

Tracking of spending is one way of ensuring that money is not wasted on unnecessary purchases. Mrs Miller informed that for those seniors not averse to technology, using a budgeting app would be beneficial. With aggressive tracking of expenses and making some other spending adjustments, the savings can be great, she advised.

Some of these apps include the Mint app, which helps seniors keep an eye on their budgets and finances and budget simple, a free online budgeting tool.

“I would recommend frugal spending as much as possible, shopping where they can get the best prices, taking advantages of rewards and utilising substitutes wherever possible instead of the higher priced products,” said Mrs Miller.

Take advantage of discounts for seniors wherever they are available, she said. Noting that sometimes seniors may be asked to prove their eligibility, pensioners should be prepared with the appropriate documents; proof of age or government-issued identification would be sufficient.   She also recommended teaming up with close friends or family members to purchase groceries in bulk.

To supplement their income, seniors should explore the option of monetising their hobbies, Mrs Miller advised.

“If you have a hobby that you can monetise, you should do that. Even if you can develop a new skill that can bring in income, you should explore that. For example, if you are a teacher, you can offer tutoring services during your retirement,” she said.

Another avenue which could be pursued is property rental which would generate income.  Mrs Miller informed that seniors who have a large home may consider downsizing and converting a section of the property to provide rental income.

She noted that owning a large home may not make sense. For some the option of selling their current home and purchasing a smaller house or condo might be more practical and attractive. This will not only reduce home expenses, but also make life less stressful in terms of cleaning and maintenance.

The JN BeWi$e Financial Empowerment team lead suggested that seniors also start a backyard garden where they can cultivate vegetables or general cash crops which could  generate an income, but at the very least, reduce or eliminate purchases of these items.

“Vegetables such as calaloo, peppers, and tomatoes are among crops easily cultivated and they mature in a short period of time. The produce from gardening can help to offset buying them at the markets and the surplus can be sold.  Gardening will not only keep seniors busy, reducing boredom, but has the added advantage of providing them with the exercise they need to keep fit , warding off or helping to manage some lifestyle diseases,” she explained.

Read more

Accepting Help is Part of Self-Care Says Life Coach

Life coach and gender specialist, Carla Moore is encouraging persons to practise more self-care by learning to accept assistance from others instead of trying to do everything on their own.

 “Self-care is recognising that my dreams are bigger than this fear [of asking for help]. So, I’m going to ask for what I need so that my dreams can come out of my chest and begin to live in the world. Self-care is about having the courage [to admit that you need support],” she said, as she noted that one cannot expect to accomplish everything on their own.

Self-care is the process of taking care of oneself with behaviours that promote health and active management of illness when it occurs.

Moore was a guest on the JN Circle Thrive Together Life Class series, where she was participating in a discussion on the topic: ‘Me, myself and I: Selfishness or Self-care?’

“Self-care is a part of your personal greatness, because one form of self-care is allowing other persons to add their energy to what you are trying to do. Think about it this way, one person trying to launch a business on their own, has a very different experience from a person who has a team of five,” she noted.

She further pointed out that it is important for people to be honest with themselves and seek external help.

“It is a deep and pure honesty to say ‘Am I caring for myself if I continue to act in the way that I’m acting? And if I continue like this, will all of the greatness in me make it out in this lifetime?’ If the answer is no, then you need to change tactics”.

Dania Beckford, publicist and chief executive officer of Broadtail Designs, who was also a guest at the session, said that communication is also key to self-care.

“Sometimes, your family members and your circle want to support you but might not be able to do it at that particular time, so that is why it is important that it is communicated that they are unable to do the task right now and indicate when they can do it,” she explained. “So, communication is part of how we self-care and how we care for others,” she said.

Season four of the JN Circle Thrive Together Life Class, started on July 22 and will continue until September 7. The session, which is moderated by Kamala McWhinney, associate clinical psychologist, seeks to empower JN members and customers.

The discussion topics have so far included, ‘Spotting a Tinder Swindler: The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating in Jamaica and the ‘Vow: Yours? Mine? Ours? – A Look at Boundaries within Marriages’.

Persons can register to join the sessions at ja.myjncircle.com, or they can watch and participate via the JN Group’s Facebook Page.

The next session is scheduled for Wednesday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. and the topic will be: Manifesting: The Art of Being Intentional’.

Read more

JN Group Launches Plastic Recycling Programme: Aims to Collect 530,000 Plastic Bottles in a Year

The Jamaica National Group has launched a pilot of a plastic recycling programme among its employees as it aims to collect 530,000 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles over the next 12 months. PET bottles include soda and water bottles and other soft drink bottles.

Omar Wright, lead, Environment and Community Development Programmes at the JN Foundation, in announcing the initiative said that the programme is part of a much larger initiative under the JN Group’s Environmental Sustainability Programme, which is a five-year initiative, targeted at reducing deforestation, strengthening waste management, and promoting water conservation and energy efficiency.

“This initiative is an acceptance of our responsibility to limit not only our negative impact on the environment as much as possible, but to demonstrate that the private sector also has a leadership role to play in achieving environmental sustainability in our country and in our global village,” he said.

“We must support the continued promotion of environmental awareness and practice in Jamaica to ensure the economic and social wellbeing of all our people – both present and future,” he added.

Kimberly Gardner, marketing relations officer at the JN Group said the initiative will start at four  JN Group locations and will be expanded.

In partnership with JN Properties, a member company of the JN Group and janitorial and property services company, EnviroTech, labelled recycle bins have been placed strategically in these locations to facilitate collection of PET bottles for recycling.

The bottles will then be transported to Recycle Partners of Jamaica, where a percentage of the proceeds gained from the bottles will be donated to ‘Funds to Fuel a Nation’, a project of the JN Foundation, which provides financial support to the Mustard Seed Communities and educational support to children.

“We invite all employees of The Jamaica National Group to support this initiative. Let us play our part in protecting the environment,” she said during the launch.

“Let us practise the 3Rs – ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’ Space in our landfill and dumps are limited, and the conditions in these spaces make it nearly impossible for anything, including plastic, to biodegrade. Recycling plastic water bottles helps to conserve space that can be used for other waste. Recycling can also help reduce the number of plastic water bottles that end up as litter in roadways and water sources,” she added.

According to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow into the world’s oceans every year with experts warning this may triple by 2040.

In Jamaica, plastic accounts for approximately 15 per cent of waste, with the vast majority of it being PET bottles. Jamaica produces 800 million PET bottles annually, and as of September 2019, only 20 per cent this waste has been collected.

Read more

JN Foundation Helps Boost Production at Cross Keys Agro-Processing Facility

The community of Cross Keys in southern Manchester is poised to boost its agro-processing facility following the donation of critical equipment that will aid in expanding the production of plantain chips and creating employment for the community.

The two pieces of equipment include a deep fryer and commercial slicer, were donated by the JN Foundation through the JN Circle and presented to the community, recently.

Smeadly Reid, chairman of the Cross Keys Development Area Committee said that the agro-processing facility has been in operation since 2016 where it has been producing plantain chips, but due to challenges with the equipment, production fell.

He said with the new equipment production will be able to move up by 60 per cent or more. “Surely we will be able to improve our production and many more farmers will benefit as we will need more produce,” he said.

Mr Reid informed that farmers in neighbouring Manchester communities, such as Woodland, Resort, Cocoa Walk and Porus will also benefit.

“We were only able to produce twice for the month, but with the new equipment we will be able to produce more often,” he said.

Mr Reid disclosed that the facility will also be able to diversify to produce cassava and sweet potato chips.

The JN Foundation also presented a pavilion stand where members of the community can be comfortably seated when watching sports and other community activities. Mr Reid noted that residents from four communities, comprising 25 districts, utilise the facility, which hosts community sporting leagues annually.

“The pavilion stand has begun to be impactful as it is now being used by community members who comfortably watch sporting events,” he said. “In that regard, the potential is great. We know that many persons will find it more comfortable to be spectators for the sporting activities.”

Alethia Peart, business relationship and sales manager at JN Bank, Mandeville who handed over the equipment said The Jamaica National Group through the JN Foundation was happy to be presenting the equipment as the organisation was very keen on community development and enhancing lives.

“We are very happy to be involved in presenting the equipment and erecting the grandstand. At the JN Group, we pride ourselves in saying that ‘we put people first’,” she said.

“It is not just about today. This is a sustainable project. We are very happy to see community members enjoying the use of the grand stand and they are able to sit and enjoy the football game,” she said.

The facility was recommended for funding by the JN Circle Mandeville chapter. The JN Circle is a network of JN members and customers in the member companies of the JN Group, who form friendships to enrich their lives through community building, advocacy and networking. 

The JN Foundation last year issued a call to JN Circle chapters for submission of community building project proposals, offering grant funding of up to $1.5 million. Dawnette Pryce-Thompson, project coordinator at the JN Foundation said that the organisation was pleased to be investing in the community in a sustainable way.

“The impact of this project will be seen in the very near future as it will provide employment within the community and build comradery among community members. The JN Foundation is happy to be impacting lives in this way,” she said.

Read more

JN Foundation Invites Application for PEP Scholarship

The JN Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for students who participated in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) and will attend school at the secondary level.

Seventeen students will be awarded under the two types of scholarships on offer – the JN Foundation PEP Parish (14) and JN Bank Easi-Save County (3) Scholarships.

The deadline for the submission of applications is Sunday, August 7, and prospective applicants are invited to access the application form on the JN Foundation’s website at www.jnfoundation.com/jn-scholarships/ .

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must have completed the 2022 Primary Exit Profile and should not be a recipient of a government scholarship.

Other requirements are that applicant or parent must have a relationship with a JN Group member company for at least one year – either as a member/customer/client of JN Bank or JN Bank Small Business Loans Division, JN Fund Managers, JN General Insurance, JN Life Insurance, Jamaica Automobile Association or JN Money Services.

Only the biological parent or legal guardian can apply on behalf of the child if the child is without an active JN Bank account.

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, noted that the Foundation is honoured to be able to support the best and brightest through funding for secondary education.

“Assisted by the generosity of companies with the JN Group, we are able to award some $9 million  in scholarships annually, a significant amount of which goes to our youngest scholars,” she said.

The Foundation currently provides funding for more than 140 youngsters who maintained good grades having initially received the award on successful completion of their PEP exams.

“In September, many will commence fifth form, and will conclude the tenure of the scholarship at year’s end. At the same time, in September we will welcome a new cohort who will commence this five-year journey with their JN Family. It is an exciting and rewarding period,” she added.

The JN Foundation PEP Scholarships will be awarded to one recipient from each parish, while the JN Bank Easi-Save County Scholarship will go to one child from each county.  The PEP Scholarships are also available to children of employees of The Jamaica National Group

Read more

JN Foundation Invites You to Read about the History of Our Parishes

Ever wondered how our parishes got their names? Which is the oldest parish in Jamaica and even how the parishes were divided?  If these are thoughts that have crossed your mind, we invite you to learn about the remarkable history of Jamaican parishes by visiting the Parish Histories of Jamaica website at www.parishhistoriesofjamaica.org.

The Parish Histories of Jamaica project was developed by the JN Foundation, in partnership with the Department of History and Archaeology, at The University of the West Indies. The project seeks to capture and document the unique histories of all 14 parishes in Jamaica and make it available via the website. These histories portray to readers the major historical highlights and developments in each parish.

Read more

JN Foundation to Host Investment Summer Camp

The JN Foundation will host its inaugural Young Investors’ summer camp for young people between 12 and 17 years-old, as it aims to tap into their growing interest in investing.

The camp is scheduled for July 20 to 22 under the theme ‘Building the Young Investor’ and will be held virtually on the Zoom platform.

“A survey carried out among high school students by the JN Foundation found that young persons wanted to know more about investing. It is heart-warming to know that our young people are interested in learning about investing,” disclosed Claudine Allen, general manager, JN Foundation.

Ms Allen noted that the three-day camp will seek to build the capacity of participants by promoting an understanding of investment concepts and various types of investment vehicles. It will also provide participants with basic knowledge about, and an appreciation for the role, function and value of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) to the economy and wealth creation.

Other areas of focus include stock trading, cryptocurrency and mutual funds.

“The aim is to achieve a greater level of financial literacy and awareness among participants in the summer camp. It will be an exciting summer camp with prizes and surprises. We invite children to register for the camp,” Ms Allen said.

Persons can register for the summer camp by visiting the JN Foundation website at https://www.jnfoundation.com/.

Among the organisations which will be making presentations at the camp are representatives of the JSE,   Carib DAO, as well as representatives from JN Group member companies: JN Fund Managers, JN Bank and MC Systems. Selected participants will also get the opportunity pay courtesy calls on senior management personnel of both JN Fund Managers and JN Bank.

The summer camp is being executed under the JN Foundation BeWi$e Financial Empowerment programme which has, for close to a decade been bringing financial literacy to Jamaicans through training at various institutions and organisations across Jamaica.  The aim is to raise the level of financial literacy and improve money management skill among Jamaicans.

The BeWi$e workshops promote the idea that with knowledge of the right tools, discipline and commitment, persons can achieve financial security and financial independence.

The programme has attained a high level of success at the JN Foundation, as individuals become more aware of the value and importance of proper money management in achieving financial success, and has over the years, transformed lives and provide hope as participants embrace their role and responsibility in their quest for financial freedom.

Read more