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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.

Jamaica Women of Florida Scholarship Program

Requirements for Awarding Scholarship

The objective:

The Organization awards a renewable scholarship, annually, to a high school student accepted in a tertiary program, first or second generation Jamaican, to encourage the recipient to achieve her four-year educational goal at a tertiary institution.  The annual scholarship is valued at $1,000.

Criteria for obtaining scholarship:

Applicant should be a resident of Florida:

  • Applicant must be of first or second generation Jamaican descent.
  • Applicant must maintain a GPA of 3.5 throughout the tenure of the scholarship.
  • Applicant’s study program should include credits in International Studies and/or Women’s Studies program, if available.
  • Applicant must demonstrate continuous involvement in volunteer community projects. (At least 40 hours minimum required per semester) and continued through the college duration.
  • Applicant must write a two (2)-page, double-spaced essay explaining why she should be awarded this scholarship. The application material should include the following: (1) the essay, (2) list of volunteer/community projects and (3) school transcript.  These must be accompanied by candidate’s contact information (name/address/telephone/email address).  The information can be emailed to Jamaican Women of Florida (JWOF) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to 3325 Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 206, Hollywood, FL 33021.  Application must be received by Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Jamaican Women of Florida (JWOF) 561-320-1391


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