Al-Rajean Allie knows the importance of paying it forward. A beneficiary of the JWN Foundation scholarship programme since high school, the now final-year mechanical engineering student has dedicated much of his time to volunteering.
In fact, he exceeded the 72 hours of volunteer service required for returning scholars by 115 hours, completing 187 hours, and in so doing, was named the Top Volunteer slot in the foundation’s 2022 Programme.
Allie is one of the 28 returning JWN Foundation scholars who completed over 2,000 volunteer hours over the past academic year.
The JWN Foundation scholarship has been transforming lives and communities for over 10 years. Established in 2012, the JWN Foundation is J. Wray and Nephew Limited’s vehicle for giving back to the wider society. As one of their pillars, they are committed to investing in the education and development of youths and the most vulnerable in the areas surrounding J. Wray and Nephew’s operations.
“As a JWN Foundation scholar, I was able to have an impact on the wider society through tutoring. It has been a fulfilling experience helping students navigate the shortcomings of online learning. JWNF has empowered me to achieve my dreams; hence, it is my duty to spread that magic to the people in my community of Shiloh,” Allie said.
The spreading of the magic was also important for Sashana Nelson, who, despite a challenging year of medical school, taught Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination mathematics on Sundays at her home in Gimme-Me-Bit to children from the rural community who were struggling with online learning. As a leader in her community, she also spearheaded a food, clothing, and school supplies drive for a foster home.
“I am motivated and inspired to volunteer and give back to my community. I am immensely grateful and delighted to be a partner in the cause to transform lives and communities for a better Jamaica,” Nelson said.
The JWN Foundation Scholarship Awardee Wants to Help Other Students
Dowesha Williams’ passion for volunteering began at Race Course Primary in Clarendon, where she would help other students with homework. This continued during her high school years at Glenmuir High School, where she was very active in service clubs, including Red Cross, Girl’s Guide and Key Club.
This passion continued when the 2022 master blender scholar matriculated to The University of the West Indies, where she became a surgical society tutor. When the pandemic hit, she realized that many students around her didn’t have access to online school, so she tutored them on her veranda. She is driven by her belief that everyone has a social responsibility to their community.
“It’s something that genuinely makes me happy. I love seeing the smiles on the students’ faces when they understand a topic they didn’t get in their actual class and just the many thanks they echo at the end of each tutoring session. Volunteering is my way of paying rent for my room on this earth,” Williams said.
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In 2022, the JWN Foundation scholarship programmedisbursed $29 million in scholarships to 440 students from the three communities in which the company operates in Kingston, Clarendon and St Elizabeth. Since 2016, JWNF has invested over $80 million in scholarships to these communities, with an overall investment in scholarships of $140 million, which includes support to dependents of staff. Ten students received master blender scholarships valued at $450,000.
According to Tanikie McClarthy Allen, chief executive officer at the JWN Foundation scholarship, their objectives are strengthening relationships within their communities and partnerships among the private sector, public sector and non-governmental organisations. “Our ultimate goal is to increase engagement with our communities to foster goodwill and contribute to their development and growth,” McClarthy Allen said.
Volunteering is one of the requirements for scholarship recipients. McClarthy Allen said voluntarism is the lifeblood of every community, and the benefits of volunteer work for students are immeasurable.
“At JWNF, we believe that if we are to transform our communities and build a better Jamaica, we need to create leaders at the community level and engage our young people in more than just academic work. They need to understand that our investment in them is not just a personal one, but also an investment in their communities,” McClarthy Allen said.
“The volunteer hours are minimal, so they can still focus on school. We hope that they find themselves through service to others and that throughout life, they will ask what they can do to give back to others. It is our duty to make our communities safer for the next generation,” she added.