Volunteer opportunities don’t only allow for a precious exchange between individuals, cultures and backgrounds, but are also unique chances to get closer to some untold facets of a specific destination… and this is particularly true in Jamaica. There are many communities in the Real Jamaica that would gladly welcome travelers for volunteer opportunities. There are official organizations set in place, but also some that you find out about through word of mouth. The latter was the case for me. Through a lot of spontaneous encounters, I’ve become involved in unforgettable experiences such as helping rebuild parts of an Old Age Home in Trenchtown, leveraging crowdfunding to help an inner city child born with a serious medical condition, or just spending time with children at a school reading books and playing games.
All these experiences were about giving-back, but most of all, it left me marked with:
– A tremendous sense of personal growth, and this is felt on both ends. Everyone involved will grow one way or another.
– A priceless learning experience. I can’t even explain how much knowledge you gain by becoming part of someone’s world and sharing yours with them. It broadens minds in indefinable ways.
– An elevated consciousness that it doesn’t take many people to make a difference. Every gesture we choose to do as human beings can have an impact on someone else. Never underestimate this!
Here are some that I was involved in and that I highly recommend if it piques your interest:
Higholborn Street Basic School
This is an elementary school in one of Kingston’s inner cities. The children range between ages 3-6. Currently, the school does not receive much exposure, so I really only came to know about it through word of mouth. There are many ways to help, I know for sure the kids really enjoy having people from different countries come in and spend some time reading, playing games, etc. If you would like to volunteer at this school, please contact [email protected] and we will put in touch with the right person. You can also find out more here: higholborn.jalawelo.org
Golden Age Home
This old age home was established to provide residential care and facilities for the elderly in need. It is situated in Trenchtown and currently hosts about 5-6 residents at a time. All are in critical condition- many blind or with severe disabilities. Most of the residents were left in helpless situations with no one to look for them… so they are being taken care of at the Golden Age Home. However, there is so much that needs to be done here. The pictures below should be able to better reflect the situation and everything is appreciated from donations (bed sheets, sanitary items, clothes, etc) to renovating parts of the home. If you are interested in helping out please contact [email protected] and we will put you in touch with the appropriate people.
Trenchtown Reading Centre
Facing the Trenchtown Culture Yard on First Street, this non-profit education center is “a place where life is enriched by reading and learning. Emphasizing the exchange of ideas, critical thinking, literacy, education and life skills. Developed to encourage a broad range of educational activities and provide a place for community activities. The Centre provides countless children and adults with more, current, and otherwise unobtainable material ina relaxed, welcoming and accessible environment. Laying a solid foundation to create the potential for personal, familial and community well-being and growth.” You can find out more by visiting their website www.trenchtownreadingcentre.com
If you are interested in this feature, please contact the Real Jamaica team! Thanks!