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Kiwanis club in Jamaica inspires teen moms to defy stereotypes

Steven Hadt | Mar 16, 2018

40 teen mothers inspired to defy biases and stereotypes

The Kiwanis Club of Young Professionals Kingston, Jamaica, took the opportunity of International Women's Day to inspire about 40 young mothers to dream of bright futures. The club is helping the teenagers defy stereotypes and biases prevalent for at-risk youth in Jamaica.

“The choices you make can define your life, so make good choices, choose the best for yourself (and your children),” Terri Karelle-Reid, a former Ms. Jamaica and online brand manager for a local newspaper, told the women. “You can prove society right or wrong. I love to prove (people) wrong. When (they) say I can’t do it, I show them I can.”

Abigail Henry, a civil engineer at Westech Limited, also offered advice and guidance by sharing her story of succeeding in a male-dominated field. She told the participants that hard work, dedication and a good mentor will help the women overcome their trials.

Camille Facey, attorney and partner at L. Howard Facey and Company, called the girls to action by inviting them to think about their future career goals.

40 teen mothers inspired to defy biases and stereotypes For the past three years, the club has been working with and supporting the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation, which strives to empower teen mothers to continue their education and improve their life choices.

"This initiative is in keeping with the club’s mandate to serve children and communities through service and leadership," said club president Kharie Blackwood. "Our focus is on community-based projects, educational development, beautification projects and programs geared towards at-risk youth and children."

The club of 35 members was chartered in 2015 and is already making a positive impact in the community. Its signature project is a Bring Up Grades initiative geared toward the literacy and numeracy skills of children in grades 3-5.  

"The Young Professionals club is designed to meet the needs of younger members with busy lifestyles," said Blackwood. "Our club lets members give back to the community by offering more flexible meeting schedules and hands-on service projects."

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