Partners of Good Shepherd Jamaica
Many moons ago, a teenage Jamaican girl migrated with her family to the USA. As is the case for many Jamaican-Americans and those of the Caribbean Diaspora, she returned home for a vacation. One of the places she visited was Cornwall College in Montego Bay, that visit motivated her to do more. It was after this visit, upon returning to America that Ms.Joy Dufour founded Partners of Good Shepherd Jamaica, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, some seven years ago.
Partners of Good Shepherd Jamaica, Inc. (POGS) was formed to partner with the Good Shepherd Foundation in Jamaica under the auspices of the then Archbishop of Jamaica, Most Rev. Charles H. Dufour, D.D., O.J., C.D., currently Apostolic Administrator, Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica.
In an interview, Ms. Dufour noted, “Jamaica is a developing nation with scarce goods and challenging services. Those who are foremostly affected are the poor, the infirmed and children with disabilities.” It is no wonder then that the mission of POGS is to assist the poor and infirm in Jamaica by way of providing financial, physical and moral support, especially to meet the educational and healthcare needs of the disadvantaged. Thus, POGS, through its work is contributing to Jamaica’s meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals of achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.
These interconnected goals, inclusive of no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, and quality education, address the global challenges we face and aims to leave no one behind, with a 2030 target. One way in which POGS is working towards these global goals is by providing tuition assistance for university students and by spending time with communities during its US-Mission trips where volunteers usually bring clothing, toiletries, and other items.
An associate of POGS commented that “hope may be the greatest gift that you give.” When it comes to the work of POGS, Joy Dufour insists that hope is a two-way street, as she spoke of the great enthusiasm of the dedicated volunteers who assist the Maryland Chapter of the Partners of Good Shepherd.
It was in the ongoing continued need to develop innovative ways to achieve the mission of POGS that Archbishop Dufour reached across the seas to North America to garner the help of the diaspora. The Maryland Chapter of the Partners of Good Shepherd was established some seven years ago.
The mission of the Maryland Chapter being:
“…to help the poor and infirmed in Jamaica. Its aim is to maximize contributions of money, time, effort, and other resources towards providing those in unfavorable circumstances with social, educational, financial and health care opportunities. Through its contributions, POGS’ overarching goal is to improve the physical and mental well-being of those in various disadvantaged communities across Jamaica.”
Joy Dufour felt a deepening burden as she traveled to Jamaica year after year and watched the devastating impact of the widening economic gap on the poor.
Mustard Seed Communities and more
Mustard Seed Communities are the main beneficiaries of the work of POGS. Mustard Seed Communities began in 1978 in the impoverished community of Mona Common, Jamaica, as a home for a handful of abandoned and disabled children. The communities house children and young adults with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and teen mothers along with their babies.
Partners of Good Shepherd, over the past several years, has primarily focused on funding by holding attractive dinner dances. This has resulted in the completion of a state-of-the-art medical facility, named the Good Shepherd Medical Facility.
Three years ago, a shared interest and partnership with the parishioners of St. Andrews the Apostle Church in Silver Spring, Maryland led POGS members to become active participants in ongoing missions to support the work undertaken by Jacob’s Ladder in Moneague, Jamaica.
7th Annual Fundraising Dinner Dance
This year the Partners of Good Shepherd holds its seventh annual dinner dance on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Thaddeus Room, St. Jude’s Church from 7:00 pm – 12:30 am. Funds from the 2019 dinner dance will be dedicated to the construction of a home in one of the Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica which will provide housing for 12 individuals. This becomes so important as currently the young mothers are housed until eighteen years of age. Thereafter, many are unprepared to confront the challenge of transitioning out of the Mustard Seed Communities. Through the construction of this housing facility, POGS goes further in sustaining its mission. The ‘know-how’ of the actual construction of these homes would be well assisted by the ongoing mission visits of skilled parishioner/workmen from the States.
The 7th Annual Fundraising Dinner Dance is approaching and now anyone may join. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.partnerofgoodshepherd.org or call 301-412-3914.
By Kerriann Toby
Kerriann Toby is a dynamic therapist currently pursuing her Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD). She is a member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and has trained as a cyber counselor. Her areas of experience, expertise, and interest include child development, sexual and reproductive health, gender-related matters, marriage and family life and promoting the idea of positive psychology, using strengths to support mental health and wellbeing.
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