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JAMAICAN WOMEN OF FLORIDA (JWOF) Elects New Executive Board For 2017-2019 Term

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      

February 27, 2017


   Camille Edwards, President

The Jamaican Women of Florida, Inc. (JWOF) elected a new Board of Directors on February 25, 2015 at their fourth annual general meeting.  The new president is Ms. Camille Edwards an administrator with the Broward County School Board. Ms. Edwards has previously served as the Presidents of the Immaculate Conception High School Alumnae Association and Broward Alliance Of Caribbean Educators (founder). She hails from Montego Bay, Jamaica and holds Masters of Science and Bachelors of Arts degrees from St. Thomas University, Miami, FL and York University, Toronto, Canada.

The newly Elected Vice President is Mrs. June Minto – Marketing Consultant and Managing Partners with Jamaican Jerk Festival & Jamaque – Paridis Magazines.  Rounding out the new Board are Secretary Tamara Wadley; Treasurer Dale Telfer, CPA – who is returning for her second term in the position; Director-At-Large Ann Marie Clarke, Esq. and Legal Director Hilary Creary, Esq.- who previously served as the association’s Secretary.

JWOF was launched in April, 2013 with twenty founding members and saw their membership triple since.  Currently they have 46 paid members and continue to seek members to strengthen the group.  The non-profit was founded as an organization to provide an outlet for Jamaican women in Florida to empower themselves through charitable and educational endeavors, personal development and mentoring. The goal of JWOF is to engage Jamaican women in Florida and to give back to the next generation of young women by assisting in the development of leadership and personal skills to operate in a global environment.

Membership is opened to everyone, and since launching they initiated several measures to accomplish their goals.  These include the annual Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon; the “Powerful Women…Next Generation” scholarship, the annual Health & Wellness Conversation, and the adoption of Melody House Girls’ Home in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Members of JWOF have made several trips to Jamaica to visit Melody House and have supported the girls home financially over the years.  The organization has also helped several Jamaican women and families in Florida in need and continue to live up to their mission of

“We the new board embrace JWOF’s mission and vision and are dedicated to the organization’s continued growth over the next two years” says JWOF President, Camille Edwards. “We have some big shoes to fill but with the guidance of the outgoing board we will strive to provide avenues to empower the now gen and the next gen ”, said Edwards.

To celebrate their fourth anniversary, JWOF is again hosting the popular “Jamaican Women of Florida Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon”, on Saturday, April 8th, 8:00AM – 4:30PM at Jungle Island in Miami, Florida.  The day’s events will include three panel presentations focusing on their mission -  Empowerment; personal growth and development; and mentorship; the annual scholarship awards luncheon to benefit a female high school senior and a rising second, third and fourth year college students. Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available. 

  Ms. June Minto – VP          

L-R: Camille Edwards(Pres); Hilary Creary, Esq. (Legal Director); Tamara Wadley (Secy); Ann Marie Clark Director At Large)

  Dale Telfer, CPA - Treasurer

Melody House: A Second Chance

On Saturday October 15, 2016, five members of Jamaica Women of Florida (JWOF) accompanied by three spouses visited Melody House, Montego Bay, a home for girls in need of care and protection.  The group met at Mega Mart shopping plaza and were dispatched by Bishop Leon Golding, Anglican Suffragan Bp. of Montego Bay, after leading us in prayer.

Upon arrival, the contingent was welcomed by Ms. Claire Purkiss, housemother and her ten precious charges.   After introducing themselves group members assisted the girls in creating ‘vision boards’, with pictures representing their hopes and aspirations, which they used as an aid to formally introduce themselves to group. With introductions out of the way, each girl was presented with a gift bag containing shoes and clothing.  Particularly touching was the reaction of 7 year old “J” (recently assigned to Melody House with her teen sister) who was absolutely astounded when she received not one but three bags.  In her disbelief she beckoned to me and whispered “Miss, me one get three bags, me?”  Her delight in her new possessions was evident in the manner in which she clutched the bags refusing to set them down, during the remainder of our visit.

To help steer the girls on a positive path, President Dahlia Walker-Huntington addressed the girls on goal setting and postponing activities that would interfere with their success.  To support this effort each girl was presented with a copy of The Seven Habits of Effective Teens, by Steven Covey, which will be followed by periodic book discussions to be led by mentorship chairperson, Marva Wilks and others, via Skype.

There were several more touching moments, exchanges, hugs and tears of joy by many, visitors and residents.  After picture taking and prolonged farewells the JWOF group departed, their hearts full, not saying “good bye” but “later”.  Prior to taking this trip I had contemplated foregoing the expense of travel and using funds instead, to send more gifts.  I left Melody House knowing we all had made the better choice. 
Marcia & Horace Ward 

Melody House is was established in 1979 and is supported by charitable donations with some funding from the government of Jamaica. 

JWOF members visiting were Dahlia Walker-Huntington; Donna Callander; Laurel Crowle; Dale Telfer; Marcia Ward; and friend of JWOF Dr. Karen Carpenter.

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