Building powerful women in Jamaica

Members of an organization dubbed Empowering Future Minds (EFM) exemplified a mission to help young women in Jamaica by hosting a recent fund-raiser at Markie B’s Jamaican Cuisine in Jamaica, Queens.
Behn Goldis

Members of an organization dubbed Empowering Future Minds (EFM) exemplified a mission to help young women in Jamaica by hosting a fund-raiser at Markie B’s Jamaican Cuisine in Jamaica, Queens recently.

Their total membership comprises just more than a handful Jamaican women — residing in Silver Springs, Maryland, Long Island, N.Y. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. yet they are amplifying the phrase that many are called but few are chosen.

According to their web portal, together the women for women project is “a group of friends and associates all connected by our love of Jamaica and our desire to make a change. For many of us, our lives have been enriched by the amazing experience we had going to high school in Jamaica. We have all had fond memories and built lasting friendships, but it was not always easy for our parents to pay the expenses. As Jamaicans living abroad, we recognize that fact and as such, have made a commitment to help change the lives of the many talented young ladies attending our and some of your alma maters.”

In just four years board members Jacqueline Archer; Suzane Archer, president; Sheree Miller, public relations specialist; Patricia Gascoigne, treasurer; Solea Morris, secretary; Karen Hutchinson, marketing executive and Georgia Lee, event planner seem to be making a difference by empowering youths on the island to pursue education against all odds.

In order to raise funds to help the ambitious young women in the homeland, the committed ensemble traveled from various locations on June 30 to raise funds and awareness about the plight of many disfranchised students.

Brandishing a banner bearing a quote from Brigham Young saying “you educate a man, you educate a man; you educate a woman, you educate a generation,” they personified aims and purposeful examples of how a few can help the least empowered gender in the Caribbean nation.

The women believe “every mickel make a muckle” and have invested time, energy and creative fundraising methods to raise funds to aid in the education of students from Ardenne High School, Holy Childhood, Alpha Academy, St. Hugh’s, Queens High, Tivoli Gardens Primary, St. Andrew High, Immaculate Conception High, Peter Claver Primary and Wolmers High School.

Employing simple methods to aid in the process, they have assisted in providing backpacks, school supplies and even reading glasses to needy students.

To that end, in the past they have held a dominoes tournament, hosted a fund-raising gala in Florida, sponsored raffles, and this latest effort in New York City offered dinner, cocktails, dancing and prizes to patrons.

“We want to make a difference,” Archer said.

Despite lacking of a travel budget, the committed women traveled from various locations on the eve of the July 1 anniversary birthday of Dennis Emanuel Brown and the Independence Day holiday week to fulfill their commitment.

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According to a mission statement they are devoted: “To help improve Jamaica by educating young ladies who have the desire to achieve but not necessarily the means to realize their dreams. We believe that if we improve the life of one young lady we help build a nation.”

“As staunch advocates for education, we are helping to prepare them for a brighter future and by virtue improving Jamaica. We are providing one year educational scholarships to cover their school fees, books, uniforms, transportation, meals etc. Additionally, we aim to provide mentoring and stewardship for the selected individuals throughout the scholarship period.”

Miller whose Dunrobin High School in Jamaica is now defunct, said members are not particularly focused on funding their own alumni associations. Instead, the women are committed to helping underprivileged students regardless of affiliated learning institution with the one concern that the girls are from families struggling to keep them educated.

“First we contact the principals to find the neediest students,” the president said. When a student fitting that description is sourced, the organization members present a check and virtually adopt a mentoring relationship to assist the individual who is either transitioning from primary school to high school or already enrolled in a secondary institution.

Twenty students have benefited from their philanthropy.

Beaming with pride from seeing their empowering successes readying for tertiary studies at the University of the West Indies and Portmore Community College this year, Archer explained that Walt Disney World has been the sole corporate contributor to their cause.

The Orlando, Fla.-based entertainment theme park has offered incentives to attractions which they have given as door prizes or raffles at fund-raising events. And while that generosity advances their mission they rely on nationals, past students of various schools and the kindness of like-minded individuals and groups to execute their sense of purpose.

For more information, contact the web portal at or call (407) 369–6286.

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