By the time you read this, I’ll have been in Jamaica for four days to support Creators of Hope in their mission to rebuild families, one home at a time. You might be thinking, “Nice. A perfectly timed trip to the Caribbean as winter hits the northeast.”
And you wouldn’t be wrong…if I were staying in one of the resorts, availing myself of all the sun, surf, and sand a girl could want. But that’s not why I’m there. A few people know that I designed my company with a mission to give back. I was inspired by Toms, who for every pair of shoes purchased gives another to the needy, and Warby Parker, who provides glasses for the less fortunate when one purchases frames through their company.
Creators of Hope builds small homes for families who have been living in what basically amounts to shacks. Keep in mind that the new homes are simple, structures with firm foundations. There’s still no indoor plumbing, running water, or electricity as there isn’t the infrastructure to support them.
Designing my own match program stumped me for a while. Then I landed upon the idea that start-up nonprofits need help in the form of communications and fundraising, two areas that fall within my brilliance. So I decided to offer one nonprofit my services annually pro bono.
The first two years I was in business, I offered my services to a local Baltimore nonprofit called Hugs From Lucie, and for the past two years, I’ve worked with Creators of Hope. My roles include advisor, fundraising support, and communications. I pull insights from my years serving on various nonprofit boards; local and national fundraising; holding volunteer leadership roles within nonprofits; and as a Deloitte & Touche auditor.
And while these roles have been incredibly fulfilling, they’ve been conducted via computer or in meeting rooms. Serving on a mission trip has long been a desire of mine, and I am thrilled to be participating. If you follow the Creators of Hope Facebook page, I’ll be posting stories, photos, and videos throughout the week.
Fun Facts about Jamaica
Before I sign off, I thought it might be fun to share a little about Jamaica.
- Jamaica is an island that is located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Since gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, the country has grown to a population of 2.8 million people. Kingston, the capital, is home to approximately one million of the country’s inhabitants.
- The official language of Jamaica is English because the United Kingdom ruled over the country for many centuries. However, the country also recognizes Jamaican Patois as its national language.
- Most of the families in Jamaica are headed by women. Mothers are responsible for raising the children and supporting their families. The family is of the utmost importance and includes a close-knit web of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
- Public education in Jamaica is not entirely free, as there are registration fees and other school expenses that are not covered by the government. As a result, many of the nation’s most poor children are not able to attend school.
- Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road.
- The country has more churches per square mile than any other country in the world.
- Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean Sea.
- Most Jamaicans don’t use modern medicine techniques to treat their ailments. Instead, they focus on the healing power of food and nature.
- Over 90% of Jamaica’s residents are of African descent. When slavery was abolished in 1834, a quarter million slaves were freed in Jamaica.
- Christopher Columbus first came to Jamaica on May 4, 1494 while on his second voyage to the “new” world and he named the island Santiago (in English, Saint James).
- The Jamaican flag is comprised of three main colors. The colors of the Jamaican flag represent the following: Black stands for hardships, green stands for hope and agriculture, and yellow represents the wealth and beauty of the sun.
- Although Jamaica has no official religion and practices religious freedom, over 64% of Jamaicans are Protestant.
I look forward to taking you on this journey with me.