Stuart Reeves’ Passion for Empowering through Photography

Stuart Reeves was only six years-old when he developed a love for the camera, which was first introduced to him by his father, a fireman and hobbyist photographer.

His love for the art form blossomed, and more than six decades later, the educator continues to teach photography and mentor budding photographers.

“Photography is an experience. It is going out and seeing an image and capturing it in the best way, using whatever techniques and processes to get that image. When you have that final image and you realise that is what you saw in your mind and that is what you got in front of you, it can be very rewarding,” he shared.

Reeves, who was born in the United Kingdom, came to Jamaica to complete a one-year tenure as a volunteer teacher in 1970. He was planted at the Glengoffe High School in St Catherine, where he taught Industrial Arts. But what was supposed to be only a gap year for the Englishman after completing his tertiary studies in the UK, turned into half a century, as he put down roots on the island.

The educator taught at various institutions over the years, including the Mico Teachers College (now the Mico University College), Fair Prospect High School in Portland, where he was principal from 1991 to 1995; and Jamaica College, where he served from 1995 -2003. He then served the Ministry of Education as an education officer before retiring in 2004.

Wherever he taught or served, Mr Reeves always tried to engage his students in photography by establishing photography clubs in the institutions he was placed.

Following his retirement, he received the opportunity to do more impactful mentoring of young people, using photography, through the JN Foundation Resolution project in 2010.

“When I was working with the Ministry of Education, I had gone into Rose Town and I heard that there was a photography exhibition going on nearby and that was the JN Foundation Resolution Project. I went across and saw the exhibition and I was really enthralled,” he said.

Mr Reeves was invited to join the team where he was involved in mentoring new cohorts of photography students.

“The JN Resolution Project was an opportunity to engage children. The project had this big thing about advocating with the camera. The students really took to it. We had to teach them what advocacy was and how you advocated using the camera,” he explained.

He recalled that the students were given themes to work with and they were sent to their community to capture images associated with the themes. Workshops were also conducted with the children to teach them about the correct techniques of using the camera and about advocacy.

“They came from diverse communities so when we gave them themes to work with, they interpreted them in their communities, which was important. So, it was not a case where everyone came back with the same types of images. They were really coming back with unique individual images,” he disclosed.

The JN Resolution Project ran for more than a decade. Originally called Youth Zoom, the Resolution Project began in 2004. Each school received digital cameras and participated in workshops in strategic locations across Jamaica. The fundamentals of photography and advocacy, as well as the basics of journalism were taught, and students used the skills they garnered to then tell intricate stories with their cameras; critically examine the issues facing them, and creatively articulate their observations in photographs.

Mr Reeves noted that some exceptional students emerged from the programme, with some moving on to careers involving photography. Among them was Osheenei Zevandell Graham of Grange Hill High School in Westmoreland, who is now an established photographer.

Mr Graham credited the JN Resolution Project for assisting him to develop his craft and gave him the exposure he needed as a student. He was part of the programme for four years.

“The JN Resolution Project gave me the exposure that I needed and it forced me to come out of my shell and be more outgoing and more of a people person,” he said.

He informed that photography is a good way of preserving memories and recording events and that it gave him joy doing so.

Mr Reeves is again engaging budding photographers through the recently launched JN Foundation ‘Greatness through the Lens’ photo-advocacy competition, which invited persons passionate about photography and community advocacy to enter.

The competition, which was launched in October, was conceptualized in celebration of Jamaica’s 60th year of independence under the national theme, “Reigniting a Nation for Greatness”.

It seeks to encourage Jamaican photographers to bring awareness to the unseen ‘helpers/advocates’ whose voluntary service has been engendering positive change in vulnerable communities and promoting environmental preservation.

So far, 50 persons have been shortlisted for the competition, which will culminate in August 2023 during Jamaica’s Independence Day celebrations.

“I’m anxious to see the work they [participants] will come up with. They will be churning out a lot of images and we will give them the necessary guidance and address their weaknesses in photography so they can be better photographers,” said Reeves, who is one of the trainers in the competition. The other trainer is renowned Jamaican international photographer, Radcliff ‘Ruddy’ Roy.

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Social Media Influencers Take on Water Conservation with the JN Foundation

Four couples. Three months. Four sets of water-efficiency kits, and hopefully, a whole lot of savings! That’s the premise of the JN Foundation’s latest campaign, which is geared towards reducing water usage in Jamaican households. 

The campaign, which was launched this month, will see four influencer couples utilising the water-efficiency kits in their homes for a period of three months as a means of conserving the valuable resource and reducing their water bills.

The four couples: Basillia and Brian Cuff, Xaundre and Zhara-Marie Mohansingh, Sasha and Rory Ebanks and Romaine and Elizabeth Virgo will install the kits in their homes and implement the tips from the JN Foundation’s Water Project Homeowners’ guide to water use efficiency, to monitor changes in their water bills over the duration of the campaign. Each kit comprises of a showerhead, aerators for the kitchen and bathroom sinks and a toilet leak detector.

For the Cuffs, this is an excited endeavour, which they’re hoping will not only assist them in reducing their water bill, but will also help them to teach their young children about water conversation.

“I’m excited about learning and spreading the knowledge surrounding water conservation. It is something we practice and emphasize in our home, especially with two children running around who know how to turn pipes on,” said Basillia. “I think this project will help us to zoom in on those little things we do, that we don’t pay much attention to, that add up over time
on our bills.”

She noted that the family now spends about $8,000 on their water bill, each month. “I honestly feel like this project will be eye opening for many of us, and rewarding, when the bills begin to reflect the reduction.”

For Zhara Mohansingh, the JN Foundation Water Project is game changing. “It’s not just practical but helps with a mindset shift which is critical if we desire change. Cutting down on any bill is a good idea for my pocket and I’m excited to see how the practices will help us to stay under budget as we try to stay afloat in such harsh economic conditions.”

Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, said the main goal of the campaign is to encourage water adaptation measures and encourage efficient water usage across all sectors of society. The initiative falls under Water Project Jamaica, which was started in 2017 as a joint collaboration with the JN Bank, JN Foundation, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IDB Lab.

“Our hope is that the results of the programme will encourage more Jamaicans to adapt these water conservation strategies in their homes as a way of conserving on their water consumption and cutting down their water bills,” Miss Allen said. “With the help of our influencer couples, we hope to reach more Jamaicans with this message of conservation.”

Data show that a typical single-family home in Jamaica uses between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of water per month, with about 10 per cent being wasted. Water saving devices and good conservation practices can reduce water consumption by as much as 30 per cent.

Miss Allen further noted that the JN Foundation wants to emphasise the value of water, whether in homes, schools, businesses or communities. “We want everyone to take the message of water conservation and efficient water use as a part of valuing water,” she remarked.

The JN Foundation, under its Water Project, has implemented similar water conservation initiatives in several households and institutions in the past, reaping great success.

In 2021, a rainwater harvesting system and water-efficiency devices were donated to the Wortley Home for Girls in Kingston, which saw the institution reducing its water bill by at least 50 per percent less than a year later.

The donation comprised 12 water-efficiency kits and the rainwater harvesting system, which included piping and guttering, as well as a tank donated by entertainer and The Jamaica National Group brand ambassador Agent Sasco.

Similarly, in 2018, several St Catherine residents, who received water-efficiency kits from JN also reported significant reductions in their water consumption and subsequent water bills.

One family in Portsmount, St Catherine saw a massive 700 per cent reduction in just three months. Their water bill moved from $16,000 monthly to $2,000 per month.

To learn more about the JN Foundation’s Water Project, please visit Also, follow @jnfoundation on all socials for more about the campaign.

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Rose Miller, Manager, Strategic Empowerment Programmes

Reset and Re-evaluate Your Finances for the New Year – Rose Miller

Rose Miller, lead for financial empowerment programmes at the JN Foundation, says the New Year presents an opportunity for persons to reset and re-evaluate their finances.

“The new year offers an opportunity to reflect on the past and set goals for the future. Revisiting and re-evaluating your financial and other personal goals can help set you up for success in 2023 and beyond,” she informed.

Mrs Miller recommends the following five ways to start the New Year on sound financial footing:

Re-Examine Your Budget
She advised that re-examining one’s budget can assist in figuring out where one needs to make adjustments.  She said by taking stock of one’s income and expenses and if and how one expect those to change in the New Year, one would be in a good place to determine what will be required to reach one’s goals. She cautioned that, among other things one will need a high degree of discipline to be successful.

Start a budget and track your expenses
She noted that if no budget was established last year, now was the time to create one. “Creating and sticking to your budget could be one of the best things that you can do for your finances in the New Year. Budgets force you to take a hard look at the money that you bring in, the money that you shell out, and the money that you may owe,” she said.

If you have never followed a budget before, the thought of starting one can be daunting. The truth is, budget is a useful tool. In the words of John Maxwell, “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.“ Once you get used to following a budget, you can begin finding ways to free up cash to put towards your financial goals which will help improve your financial security.

Establish and maintain your emergency fund 
Mrs Miller pointed out that the importance of having an emergency funds cannot be over-emphasized. She said it is also equally important to understand what constitutes an emergency – an important and unexpected incident.  “If the purpose of having an emergency fund is truly understood it will not be used for unintended purposes and the need for replenishment, to ensure that this safety net is in place, would be readily appreciated,” she said.

Start Investing
The financial empowerment team lead said that for the New Year, building wealth should be a priority area, and this can be accomplished through investment. “While it may not be the easiest resolution on this list, investing is the key to building your wealth,” she added. 

She recommended consulting a financial advisor who can help to decide on an investment plan compatible with your age, goals and risk tolerance, among other considerations.

Make Planning for retirement a Priority

Another critical area of focus for the New Year must be retirement planning. She reminded that retirement planning must begin early; “When you are young, saving for your retirement probably sounds like the least exciting thing that you can do with your money. The truth is, money needs time to grow hence the sooner you start, the more secure you will be when your retirement comes. Investing in your retirement means that you are investing in your future,” she said. 

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Chevanese Peters (fourth right), programmes coordinator at the JN Foundation and other members of the JN team present donation to Christine Madden Watson (fourth left), administrator at Sophie’s Place.

Mustard Seed Communities Benefit from JN Foundation and Staff ‘Comfort for Christmas’ Initiative

Staff and administrators of three children’s homes in St Catherine and St Andrew operated by the Mustard Seed Communities were overjoyed after receiving a donation of personal care and food items from the JN Foundation and employees across the JN Group, recently.

The three children’s homes which benefited were: Sophie’s Place in Gordon Town, St Andrew; My Father’s House, also in St Andrew; and Jerusalem, located in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

The homes received a total of 3,584 baby and adult diapers; 2,500 baby wipes; 1,000 feeding tubes and 300 packages of food drink.

“We are elated!” a very pleased Christine Madden Watson, administrator at Sophie’s Place exclaimed after being presented with the items by a team from the Foundation recently.

“The needs are ongoing. The children [who] we have are physically disabled and many of them are on medication so their nutritional needs are great. So we are always in need of dietary supplies,” she said.

Mrs Madden Watson was especially grateful for the diapers donated, noting that the ones provided by the Foundation are more resilient than the ones they currently have in stock.

 “This particular brand diaper came just in time,” explained Mrs Watson.

Since 2013, the JN Foundation and employees of The Jamaica National Group have been supporting Sophie’s Place. Over the years, groups of JN employees also supported individual children by covering some of their monthly expenses.

Ezlyn McKenzie, administrator of My Father’s House in St Andrew was similarly grateful for the benevolence of the JN Foundation and JN employees. “We are a charitable organisation and the donation received from the JN Foundation is appreciated,” she said.

The home caters to 36 residents- 20 boys and 16 girls. They are physically and mentally challenged and are wheelchair-bound.

Chevanese Peters, programmes coordinator at the JN Foundation said the donation was made possible through a ‘Comfort for Christmas’ initiative organised by the JN Foundation where employees of The Jamaica National Group contributed diapers and funds towards the initiative.

“We know the needs at the Mustard Seed Communities are great and our members of staff did not hesitate to support the initiative and were happy to contribute,” she pointed out.

“Diapers and wipes were received through our ‘Comfort for Christmas’ initiative while the feeding tubes and food drink were acquired through our ‘Funds to Fuel a Nation’ project, where employees have been committing monthly donations that go towards funding the Mustard Seed Communities and other community projects,” she said.

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Rose Miller, Manager, Strategic Empowerment Programmes

Be Prudent with Your Finances at Christmas – Rose Miller

Christmas is a time for giving, but it’s also a time when many persons overspend, with some even borrowing to cover Christmas expenses. However, Rose Miller, lead for Financial Empowerment at the JN Foundation, advises that this is a time for one to be most careful about managing expenses.

“Struggling financially especially around the Christmas holidays is a reality for many individuals. But there are things we can do to try and avoid extra debt that will carry over into the New Year,” she pointed out.

Mrs Miller recommends the following tips to manage expenses at Christmas:

Assess your finances ahead of time
The first step should be to sit down and assess one’s current financial situation. She recommends that persons ask themselves the following questions: ‘What have I got saved up for the holidays?’ ‘How many paydays do I have between now and when I need to buy gifts, food, and finance other expenses for the holiday?’ She noted that having a rough idea of what you have to work with, and what you can realistically save between now and then can help you to stay grounded.

Set a budget and stick to it
Once you have a good idea of your financial situation, she advised, that is a starting point to figuring out where the money needs to be spent. Gifts, she pointed out, aren’t the only holiday expenses.

“Visiting and/or entertaining relatives and friends can add up, as can food, sprucing up the home, and even the cost of attending a work function,” she said.

Factor in your regular expenses
She informed that aside from purchasing gifts during the holidays, one’s regular expenses, such as rent or mortgage, still need to be paid.

“There are the utilities, credit cards, loans, childcare expenses, and your regular grocery shopping that have to be paid,” she noted.

Make your Christmas Gift list
She informed that when making one’s Christmas list, it is important to decide which people on the long list will receive gifts and those to whom it would just be nice to show appreciation. “Making homemade gifts is an option and sometimes will be more appreciated by the receiver,” she said.

Spend wisely
The JN Foundation financial empowerment expert warned that persons should avoid impulsive purchases and going after deals; it can be tempting to splurge when faced with these offers. “But before you make a purchase, ask yourself: ‘Who is this for?’ ‘Is this person on my gift list?’ ‘Do I really think they would like it, or am I focusing on the price?’  or ‘What other gift is this replacing?’” she said.

Track your spending
Mrs Miller noted that staying on top of your spending can help to avoid any unexpected worries. Tracking your holiday budget on a spreadsheet, app or notebook can be a good start, but checking your account and credit card statement regularly, and noting any other unexpected expenses that may have popped up are other options to consider.

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Gillian Jackson

Read the Fine Print When Applying for a Loan’- Gillian Jackson

Financial blogger and senior manager for data and analytics at The Jamaica National Group, Gillian Jackson, is cautioning borrowers to carefully read all documents when applying for a loan, as some loans may have hidden fees and charges that will not be in the best interest of the borrower.

“Not all loans are created equal. Some lenders attract their borrowers by advertising an easy process, quick turnaround time. You can get a loan in hours instead of days, but you are paying the cost somewhere else,” she pointed out.

Ms Jackson gave the advice while addressing the ‘Get Smart About Credit’ workshop, organised by the JN Foundation Financial Academy. She was presenting on the topic ‘Helping you Understand Interest Rates’.

She pointed out that sometimes these loans attract high interest rates, use the add-on method of calculating interest; contain hidden fees and charges, such as penalties for late payments; and some lenders will not permit early repayment or even penalise persons for early repayments.

“Be wary of these loans that seem too good to be true. Loans that have associated collateral, such as a house or a car, would typically have lower interest rates than loans that do not,” she informed.

She cautioned consumers that while compound interest is very beneficial when someone is investing, in the context of borrowing, it can cause outstanding loan balances to accumulate rapidly, particularly for high interest rate loans. Compound interest is the interest calculated on the outstanding principal and the interest accumulated over the previous period of a loan or deposit. This means that interest is added onto both the loan amount and interest that was added the month before!

Ms Jackson advised that loans that use a reducing balance method of calculating interest will generally be better than the add-on method, as payments would be consistently lower for the same rate of interest. She further noted that loans that have a clear monthly repayment are also good for persons who are new to debt, or do not have a good track record of repayment.

“Always ask what your interest rate is [when applying for a loan]. Remember to shop around for the best interest rates,” she said.

Ms Jackson was among three presenters who addressed the workshop. The other presenters were Tamara Wilson, acting business development officer, CRIF Information Bureau and Rose Miller, lead of the Financial Empowerment Programmes at the JN Foundation.

The JN Foundation, ‘Get Smart About Credit’ workshop series is an initiative of the newly established JN Financial Academy, which is aimed at empowering Jamaicans to achieve financial freedom by providing information, training and mentorship.

The next workshop will be held virtually December 1 at 1:00 pm. Persons who have missed out on the first sessions are invited to visit the JN Foundation website, to register for the upcoming workshop.

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Port Maria Hospital Gets Needed Equipment from JN Foundation

Representatives of the Port Maria Hospital in St Mary were elated to receive a donation of medical equipment from the JN Foundation.

The equipment, which comprise an ECG machine, 10 Pulse oximeters, six digital thermometers, a vital signs monitor and a hospital lamp and stand were funded by a grant provided from the JN Foundation.

“JN has always been working with us and to see that we have put forth this project to them, requesting equipment to enhance healthcare and that it has been approved, I can say that we are overjoyed and for sure this will enhance service delivery for our patients,” said Lorraine Brown-Wright, chief executive officer of the Port Maria Hospital.

Dr Powell Sydney, senior medical officer at the Port Maria Hospital, underscored the importance of partnership with the private sector, as he noted that the health sector is in need of critical equipment to improve healthcare.

“These partnerships are clearly critical for us because there is no way that gap can be closed without benefactors and in particular one of the measures… [used to determine] whether a country is developed is actually [the] maternal mortality ratio, which reflects the care that we give to women,” he said.

Dr Sydney noted that there has been a significant decrease in the death rate of women. He said the equipment requested will assist the hospital in managing the care of these patients and other persons with chronic lifestyle diseases.

Jennifer Martin, board director of the JN Foundation, said the JN Foundation was pleased to make the donation of critical equipment that will improve the service offered by the hospital to the general public. The idea to fund the project was presented by the Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle chapter of the JN Circle network.

“The Port Maria Hospital is an important institution in this region, serving not only St Mary, but parts of St Ann, Portland and St Catherine, said Mrs Martin.  “Therefore, when the JN Circle recommended that critical equipment be purchased for the hospital, having done an assessment to ascertain your needs, we were happy to support”.

“Today’s donation will assist with the achievement of the Vision 2030 national development goals, as it will improve access to high quality healthcare in the parish of St Mary and communities in other parishes,” she added.

Orlene McNeish, president of the JN Circle Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle chapter, said that the hospital was selected for the donation because of the need for the equipment to improve health care.

“Another thing that has struck me over the past year and preceding years is that we are seeing a flight of medical personnel and we know that we have the best. We do not want to see [our medical staff] leaving Port Maria Hospital. Today, we are bringing in equipment that is going to make the jobs [medical staff] easier and so you can attract well needed talents,” she said.

“So instead of seeing resignations, we want you to see resumes coming into Port Maria Hospital. That is part of the dream and the vision we have for the parish,” she added.

The JN Foundation last year issued a call for proposals for projects that will improve communities. The Foundation committed up to $1.5 million in financing available for each project. The Port Maria Hospital was one of seven projects that were awarded grants. The projects covered a range of social development, education and health initiatives in communities across six parishes. 

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Tay-Jeanne Shines Amid Tough Circumstances

Tay-Jeanne Townsend, now a first form student at Munro College, is the JN Foundation Scholar for St Elizabeth.

Just months prior to sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), 12-year-old Tay-Jeanne Townsend,  former student of Bull Savannah Primary and Infant, lost two close members of his family..

“It was a difficult period for the family,” said Tay-Jeanne’s mother, Shayon South.  “At a point in time there was a setback for him academically in him not being able to complete assignments on time and missing assignments.”

Tay-Jeanne triumphed over this challenge to become the JN Foundation Scholar for the parish of St Elizabeth as a result of his outstanding performance in the PEP. Having achieved a score of 382, he earned a place at Munro College.  In addition, he emerged the top boy, top PEP performer and top overall performer for his former school and was awarded seven trophies.

“It’s the preparation that we would have made before and lots of prayers and overall, God’s grace because we started preparing and practising in advance as well as the efforts of the teacher,” Ms South explained.

“I’m excited, happy and proud.  We all know that he had the capability but he has far exceeded my expectations so I am extremely grateful,” she added.

In recognition of his accomplishment in the PEP, Tay-Jeanne, along with 46 other students, was officially recognised by the JN Foundation at an event held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel recently. Thirty-seven of the students were awarded five-year scholarships by the JN Foundation and 10 were presented with one-time grants courtesy of JN Money, the remittance service provider of The Jamaica National Group.   Fourteen of the scholarship awardees are parish recipients, three are JN Bank Easi Save County scholars, and twenty are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group.

Tay-Jeanne, who attended extra classes during the week and on Saturdays to help him to prepare adequately, pointed out that the scholarship award was a pleasant surprise.

“I know I was smart but I guess I didn’t really think I was going to be that smart to get a scholarship,” said Tay-Jeanne.

He related that attending classes online during the COVID-19 pandemic was a bit problematic.

“I didn’t get to see some of my friends’ faces for a very long time and I was eager to see them again.”

He is optimistic that other students who are currently preparing for the next sitting of the PEP can do well if they are dedicated to their school work.

“Work hard. If you don’t understand what the teacher has told you about a subject, go on YouTube and see if you can find videos about it that let you understand more,” he recommended.

Tay-Jeanne is enjoying the experience at his new school. He pointed out that his favourite subject is French and that he has joined the Automotive Club because of his love for motor vehicles.  In addition, he is also considering joining the Cadets. He enjoys playing football, cricket and video games and hopes to become a businessman trading in electronics so that he can help take care of his family.

The JN Foundation received approximately 550 PEP scholarship applications through its website for this year’s 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.  JN employees are invited to apply for the scholarship on behalf of their children. Since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in 1983, hundreds of students have benefitted from financial assistance to pursue their secondary education.

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Better Preparation for Application Process Improves Chances

Rose Miller, lead for Financial Empowerment programmes at the JN Foundation is stressing the need for business owners and individuals to carefully prepare for the loan application process to improve their chances of accessing credit. She noted that access to credit is key to wealth creation.

“The question you must ask yourself is ‘What is the level of my indebtedness?’ Am I [already] up to my neck in debt?’” she encouraged persons to ask themselves when assessing whether to borrow.

Mrs Miller was addressing the JN Foundation workshop ‘Get Smart About Credit’, recently at the JN Group Corporate Office on Oxford Road in New Kingston. The session was also streamed to registered participants.

She advised that it is important to assess either the business or one’s ability to service the loan being sought. If after preparing a budget it is clear that this loan repayment cannot be accommodated, immediate corrective measures must be implemented and in this instance part of the preparation to access credit entails reducing the level of one’s debt.

“You can start by paying off the debt with the lowest balance first, then move on to the next lowest while paying the minimum balance on all other debts, this is the debt snowball method. This method compares with debt avalanche where the debt with the highest interest rate is tackled first while paying the minimum balance on all other debts,” she informed.

She said the other option would be to go for debt consolidation. “When you have five or six loans, you can consolidate them at one institution: what that does is give you a little fiscal space each month. But I’m going to caution you, that fiscal space that you receive, it is not to be used to get into more debt. It is a time to hunker down and try and get some stability,” she stated.

To reduce and manage debt, she also encouraged persons to cut back on expenses and seek ways to increase streams of income, for instance, by monetizing one’s skills or hobbies.

Have all the necessary documents ready

Commenting further on preparing to access credit, Mrs. Miller emphasised that persons also need to pay attention to obtaining documents which will be necessary for the loan application process.

“Ensure you have basic documents – your Tax Registration Number (TRN), your ID, proof of where you live, these things [documents] will hold up your application process,” she noted.

Turning to some factors that will determine one’s eligibility for a loan, she cited the Five C’s of Credit – character, capacity, collateral, conditions and capital – that applicants should always bear in mind when seeking to borrow.

She said one’s character can be assessed based on one’s credit history- one’s pattern of loan repayment; while capacity is adjudged based on one’s ability to repay. Capital takes into consideration funds an applicant already has, the risk the borrower is willing to take on the transaction for which they are borrowing. It could also be an amount in reserve to support continued servicing of the debt in the event of an interruption in income. Conditions of the loan take into consideration the interest rate, tenure and method of repayment of the loan, among other things.

“Collateral is anything of value, an asset that is used to secure the repayment of debt in the event of a default on the loan,” she concluded her explanation of the Five C’s of credit and once again reminded the participants that there was no way to bypassing these in the process of applying for credit.

The JN Foundation, Get Smart About Credit workshop series is an initiative of the newly established JN Financial Academy, which is aimed at empowering Jamaicans to achieve financial freedom by providing information, training and mentorship.

The next workshops will be held virtually on November 17 and December 1. Persons who may have missed the first session are invited to visit the JN Foundation website,  to register for the upcoming workshops.

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JN Scholar Jelica Thompson Rises Above Adversity

Jelica Thompson doesn’t make her situation define her, but rather she uses it to push herself to excel. The 12 year-old struggled to be present in her online classes during the pandemic because of a lack of devices to log into her classes, but she was able to find innovative ways to keep up with her class.

That determination and grit resulted in her excelling in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams and being awarded the JN Scholarship for the parish of St Thomas to pursue her secondary education at Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”.

“It was difficult because half the time I didn’t have a device for myself. It was very challenging until my teacher loaned me a tablet,” she said, noting that she would ensure that she did the homework and activities that were present in the Google classroom.

She pointed out that with the support of her mother, her assignments would be submitted to the school for her teacher to mark. So even though she did not have an online presence, she was doing the school work.

Things got better for her when school returned face-to-face. Her hard work and determination paid off as she did exceptionally well in the PEP exams and attained a score of 356.3.

Her words of encouragement to students sitting the PEP exams is to: “never give up on what you want to be and always strive for excellence and work very hard.”

Jelica who wants to one day to become a lawyer is also passionate about the creative arts and would like to become a playwright. She is especially inspired by the work of Louise Bennett-Coverley, renowned Jamaican poet, folklorist and author.

She is the recipient of several Jamaica Cultural Development Commission certificates for debating competitions which she received while attending White Horses Primary and Infant School in St Thomas. She was also a member of the school team that placed second in the Region 2 Mathematics Video Competition in 2022.

She credits her success at PEP and being awarded a JN Scholarship, to her teachers Miss McDonald and Mrs Campbell and her mother. For her mother Jenhell Madden, Jelica’s success is not a surprise as she was always a good student.

“Jelica is a diligent worker, who continuously strives towards achieving excellence. She has excelled academically and maintained her place on the honour roll, which led her to become a member of the prefect body,” she disclosed.

The single mother of three is elated that her daughter was awarded a scholarship as she said this will assist in covering the finances related to her school work.

She also shared that parents have to take an active role in their children’s education to enable them to excel. “You have to put out your all for them. This means ensuring that the homework is done as the teacher alone cannot do it. Try to go through one-on-one with your child with the school work especially if they don’t understand it. If you the parent don’t understand find a friend, relative or neighbour who can explain it to the child,” she advised.

Jelica is one of 47 students to be awarded the JN Foundation PEP Scholarship and grants for 2022. Since 1983, The Jamaica National Group has been supporting the educational pursuits of hundreds of young people at both the secondary and tertiary levels.

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