We explore the peace of mind of members in our second edition of the peace of mind initiative. Peace of mind strives to encourage internal change that will better allow us to serve ourselves in the smallest possible way we can to inspire others. It is the opportunity to explore the peace of mind of members by understanding and learning how they self diagnose themselves peacefully. Take a look into the peace of mind of Director Janice Davis, President Aniska Smith and Rotaractor Keon Price.
Director Janice Davis
Director Janice has been a member for 2 years. She was inducted in August 2018. She co-led the Maternal and Child health workshop at Stratton Early Childhood Centre in April 2018. She is the 2020/2021 Public Relations Director.
What does peace means to you? A peace of mind for me represents calm, the lack of worry and contentment.
What’s the most peaceful place that you have ever been to? I am most at peace in nature close to a body of flowing water. So I am unable to choose one place.
What is the most peaceful thing that you have done for someone? Gave them personal space, shared a meal or just listen to there woes
The peace acronym P: E: A: C: E: attach words for each letter P: Pause E: Exhale A: Accept C: Choose E: Explore
There are three (3) parts; mindfulness, self-love and self care that we would like you to tell us how you approach it.
Mindfulness: share two (2) positive affirmation that you tell yourself 1. You Got this 2. Just do it like Nike
Self love: share one “I can’t” statement you say to yourself…and then transform that negative into a positive statement– I am not ready as yet……..Try to get my self ready
Your SOS (Strength other See in You) moment- share two (2) strengths that others see in you. 1. My Literary Prowess
2. My care for other people
Self care: What are some of the Activities that you do to keep your mind at peace? Reading Books, Writing poetry, Meditating, cooking and listening to music
President Aniska Smith
President Aniska has been a member for four years; she was inducted on December 2016. She served as club secretary for the 2017/2018, led multiple projects under every portfolio, served as District Rotaract Secretary in the 2019/2020 and is currently the 2020/2021 Club President.
What does peace means to you?
Peace means the following to me:
Free from distress, worry and unnecessary problems
2. Doing what is right and having integrity
3. Peace means the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
4. Peace means turning the other cheek
What’s the most peaceful place that you have ever been to? Blue Mountain or close to any fresh water body (pool, river)
What is the most peaceful thing that you have done for someone? Secretly paid something for the person without them knowing while supporting them in their time of need
The peace acronym P: E: A: C: E: attach words for each letter
Peace of Mind Initiative strives to encourage internal change that will better allow us to serve ourselves in the smallest possible way we can to inspire others. It is the opportunity to explore the peace of mind of members by understanding and learning how they self diagnose themselves peacefully. The initiative was inspired by the northeast beta sigma peace of mind project. Lets explore the peace of mind of Director Kerisa Fearon, Rotaractor Melzetta Smith and Director Tehri-Ann Brown. Each member was asked the same set of questions to explore their peace of mind.
Director Kerisa Fearon
Director Kerisa has been a member for two years.. She was inducted in the 2018/2019 Rotaract Year and so far was privileged to serve as one of the co-leads in the Health and Lifestyle Symposium in December 2018. She is currently the 2020/2021 Club Administrator.
What does peace means to you? • Peace means there is calm through any situation
What’s the most peaceful place that you have ever been to? • At the spa, getting a massage
What is the most peaceful thing that you have done for someone? • Giving someone an unexpected hug, when they’re feeling down
The peace acronym P: E: A: C: E: attach words for each letter P – Powerful E – Engaging A – Amazing C – Considerate E – Efficient
There are three (3) parts; mindfulness, self love and self care that we would like you to tell us how you approach it.
Mindfulness: Share two (2) positive affirmation that you tell yourself • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me • I’m fearfully and wonderfully made
Self love:Share one “I can’t” statement you say to yourself…and then transform that negative into a positive statement I can’t overcome my shyness… I am shy but I will turn that shyness into boldness and confidence
Your SOS (Strength others See in You) moment- Share two (2) strengths that others see in you. • My fearlessness of taking risks (business wise) • Getting things done at the last minute
Self care: What are some of the Activities that you do to keep your mind at peace? • Journaling • Having conversations with close friends • Working with the mass communication team at my church • Watching movies • Reading
Rtr Melzetta Smith
Rotaractor Melzetta has been a member of the Rotaract Club of New Kingston for 3 years. She was inducted in December 2017. She served as club secretary in the 2018/2019 Rotary year.
What does peace means to you?
Peace means to be in balance or harmony
What’s the most peaceful place that you have ever been to?
The peak of the Blue Mountains
What is the most peaceful thing that you have done for someone?
I have always found myself to be the neutral factor in conflicts
The peace acronym P: E: A: C: E: attach words for each letter
There are three (3) parts; mindfulness, self love and self care that we would like you to tell us how you approach it.
Mindfulness: Share two (2) positive affirmation that you tell yourself I am peace.
I live in harmony
Self love:Share one “I can’t” statement you say to yourself…and then transform that negative into a positive statement
I can’t control my environment but I can control environment
Your SOS (Strength others See in You) moment- Share two (2) strengths that others see in you.
My SOS is being resilient and ability to always find the positive
Self care: What are some of the Activities that you do to keep your mind at peace?
I practice yoga & meditation 2-3 times weekly or as needed
Director Tehri-Ann Brown
Director Tehri became a member in December 2020. She is the 2020/2021 International Services Director.
What does peace means to you? Peace to me means momentary relief from worry or stress.
What’s the most peaceful place that you have ever been to? Any water body offers me unimaginable peace.
What is the most peaceful thing that you have done for someone? Welcomed them into my house provide them with good food, a hug and a shoulder to cry on.
The peace acronym P: E: A: C: E: attach words for each letter
Once upon a time, Rotaract Clubs were allowed to create their own logos to represent their club. Rotary International has changed their public image strategy which requires all clubs to have a consistent image. Nonetheless, although this logo is not used on flyers (unless its charter week), we still need to know about the original logo.
Building (at the Top): represents the buildings in New Kingston. The R Danny Williams Building, Hilton Hotel (Previously known as) and Pegasus Hotel.
The People Icon (Right hand-side of the buildings): the two icons represent the “redemption song statue” located at the front of the Emancipation park
The Rotaract Club logo (in the middle): the old Rotaract club logo once used/promoted by Rotary International
Name of the Club (at the bottom): New Kingston is actually the name of the business capital in the St. Andrew
Designer: Marcus Irons (Past Member)
Charter Rotaract Club President: Marsha Smikle
Charter Rotary Club President: Garth Alexander
April 1, 2004: Charter board of directors were installed
When you think about the impact that we can make on children you would not want to turn down the opportunity to do so. The Rotaract Club of New Kingston and the Helping Hands Foundation partnered to repair a 50 feet damaged fence, donated three desktop computers, donated 30 chairs, painted the playground, and gave the grass of the playground a fresh new cut. In this age, there is an increased focus on the use of technology to enhance learning. “It was heart-warming to be able to facilitate this with our donation of computers and the replacement of some chairs. In the same breath, I could sense the pride from NKRC members as we put our shoulders (quite literally) in repairing the school’s playground fence” Rtr Samuel said. Rotaractor Oshane added that he has always dreamt of making a great impact by himself but being a part of a dedicated and driven collective, so much more can be accomplished. Being a part of the, “Little hands, Little Hearts” project was an enlightening moment filled with love, family, and purpose.
“I am super proud of the Projects leads, Rotaractors Samuel McDermott and Oshane Keith and their ability to assess the needs of the school and make the necessary preparations to purchase the materials and contact the persons to lend their skills for the work” stated President Aniska. Special thanks to PP Diego for lending his skills on the day with repairing the fence and other members of the Rotary Club of New Kingston. Major thanks to all our members, Rotaract Club of Utech and the “Wulf a Vybz Satdayz” team for their dedication on the day. We want to take the opportunity to encourage all citizens to work with a basic school/kindergarten. Investing in the youths starts from an early age, we are to let them see that we do cherish their little hearts.
The Project title is very significant as the project aims to assist toddlers who have little of everything. They are little humans (women and men) which means, they have little hands, little hearts, little feet etc. Their hearts are extremely important to be nurtured, we can take care of it only by giving it what it needs, and their needs comes with the environment Etc. Their little hands are super important as it helps with their learning and development. We are happy and we are dedicated to toddlers growth and development. We are grateful to the school for allowing us to assist.
The Rotaract Club of New Kingston is always serving the community on a regular basis. Our main service day is usually on a Saturday which across our District is classified as #ServiceSaturdays or #ProjectSaturdays. Week after week, we are out and about in the community giving back to the less fortunate with our impactful community service projects and as such we were given the nickname: Service Ninjas.
According to the oxford dictionary, a ninja is a person who excels in a particular skill or activity. Our members are by no means expert in project planning, but once they are placed in a situation, learning on the job is what gets the work done and they do it quite well, with little or no experience in project planning. Overtime when a person constantly does something, they eventually get good at it; in other words, their skills improve. Hence the members are called service ninjas. Don’t get us wrong, there are more experienced service ninjas than some, but nonetheless, each member develops (once they take Rotaract serious) over time. Remember, Once a Service Ninja, will always be a Service Ninja. Our official hashtag for our nickname is #NKRCServiceNinjas .
SERVICE NINJA LOGO
The service ninja logo was developed in the 2020/2021 Rotary Year. Below are the components and what each represents:
The Ninja= represents the members
The Houses (located behind the ninja)= represents the communities that we serve or execute our projects in
Service Ninja= our nickname
Official Club Logo= generated in the brand Centre of myrotary
The flame illustrates the burning desire and passion persons possess that drives them to become better rotaractors to serve their community and by extension the world. The hands represent the hands belonging to rotaractors and the effort they make to hold the passion or drive they have or to reach and regain the passion they may have lost along their rotaract journey.
The Hibiscus is a flower that is found in all territories in District 7020. This commonality translates into the close bond that creates the family-like feeling we experience as rotaractors.
Iguana and Leaves
The iguana represents the rock iguana that is indigenous to one of the British Virgin Islands main islands, Anegada. The leaves that form the crest signifies the importance of environmental consciousness and the need for preservation so that species such as the iguana could continue to have a safe natural niche to thrive.
‘Re-ignite your passion through service’ was developed out of the concern that is often expressed during discussions and forums surrounding membership retention; the fact that many rotaractors feel a sense of burnout or for others and the loss of the passion they initially had when they joined the Rotaract family. It is important to note that reasons for joining the organization vary from person to person and as such, we must ensure that members’ interests are catered to as much as possible. As a result, I felt the need to use this year to motivate and encourage the entire district to adopt and maintain a membership retention and growth approach and not vice versa, because I firmly believe you have to focus on taking care of your members first before growing the family. By using this approach it is hoped a climate is created within respective clubs where members would feel appreciated, encouraged and inspired so they could gain the motivation to re-ignite the passion they once had.
Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf is one of seven schools in Jamaica under the umbrella organization of the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) that is geared towards the education for our Deaf children. There are approximately 54,000 deaf persons in our country and I believe it’s necessary to highlight their community.
I’m a member, and currently one of the directors, of the community service organization, The Rotaract Club of New Kingston (NKRC). At the beginning of the year we partnered with the students of Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf to produce art pieces under the theme ‘Impact Through Unity’. The proceeds from the art pieces were intended to be used for the school’s infrastructure, however COVID-19 halted the plans. Upon reopening school for final year students to sit CSEC exams, NKRC aided in the new protocol by providing face shields, hand sanitizers and an infrared thermometer. The partnership between the service organization and Lister Mair will continue throughout the year, but I thought this would be a great time for more persons to learn about the school and the Deaf community. Here is my interview with the Acting Principal of Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf, Mrs. Michelle Davidson-Wisdom.
How long have you been in the education system and what made you decide to take the post as Principal of Lister Mair/High School?
I’ve been in the education system for 34 years, but in Deaf education for 24 years. I moved up the ranks as a regular teacher to a senior and it became less of a job and more of something I loved to do. I applied for Vice Principal when the post became available and I’ve been Acting Principal since 2019.
It’s been a challenge and a wonderful experience. I’ve been in the system for a fairly long time and have seen so many things I would have wanted to get done but was never in the position to do so. Now that I’m here (as Principal) I have the opportunity to carry out my vision to transform the school into a premiere 21st century educational institution for the Deaf because I love it and feel passionately that Deaf persons deserve this type of facility. I look forward to seeing this transition.
Okay that’s great to hear. Would you like to highlight some of the ways in which you’d want to see the school develop?
Well we started Entrepreneurship in September 2019 and I would love to see that grow. Due to the language barrier it isn’t easy for Deaf persons to transition into traditional jobs, and they’re so many of them with gifts and talents but they don’t always have the certification to do these types of jobs.
We currently have a HEART/NCTVET (National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training) sponsored programme in the afternoons but it only offers Early Childhood Education and Cosmetology. I would love to see the vocational training aspect of our school grow to empower the students to start their own businesses. That is one of my major visions. I would also like to expand our community service programme through further networking so that more business persons can be made aware of the talents and skills of Deaf persons and by so doing increase the possibility for employment.
You spoke about entrepreneurship for most of the students, so what type of jobs do your students go into when they leave school and do they generally attain fulfillment from their roles?
Unfortunately, too many of our students leave school and are unable to find jobs which are fulfilling. The majority of them leave school and work in supermarkets, wholesale enterprises and hardware stores as minimum wage employees. Most times they are not involved because they don’t always have interpreters in things like staff meetings so they miss out on some information.
However, they can do and be so much more because we do CSEC and City & Guilds examinations and some do CAPE as well. Some past students attend University of Technology (Utech), UWI and Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts and are not just holding their own but also doing well. We’re making those connections (with tertiary institutions) so they can move into fields that they like and truly wish to be in. In all areas though, the communication barrier is always present and we are grateful for groups such as Caribbean Deaf Ministries and the JAD who work tirelessly to ensure that this gap is filled.
As you mention the communication barrier, doing my research I noted that children who are Deaf tend to have family members who are hearing and a large percentage of the family don’t know how to sign. Do you find that true for your student population, and how does your staff facilitate those families?
Yes, I would say about 90% of students come from hearing families. It’s a rare occasion when students have someone in the family that is also deaf. Especially when the student is hard of hearing, the family prefers for them to speak so the family members don’t need to learn sign language. The student then goes outside the family for socialization.
Through our counselling department and the Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD) Social Services, we provide classes that empower parents and other family members to learn the language and be more involved in the student’s school and social life. Over the last 3 years the JAD has launched a project in collaboration with USAID which promotes the learning of Jamaican Sign Language (JSL) for parents through workshops and that has brought about increased parent involvement, so we are making strides.
Now that we’re in this COVID-19 pandemic and most students still have to be home, how has your staff facilitated learning and how much of your student body is benefiting?
We use online platforms to engage our students currently and the engagement hasn’t dropped below 40% during this period. That is lower than we would like, but this is mainly because the students don’t have the electronic devices or their internet service is unreliable. The teachers have been utilizing Whatsapp which is more convenient for most students because it is more cost-effective than Zoom or Google classrooms when using a mobile data plan. They also use text messaging and emails. However, the face-to face learning is the best option for them.
What are some of the needs of the school and the student body other than what you just mentioned?
We need reliable internet service. I wouldn’t be able to do a Zoom meeting at school because the service is unreliable. We were previously on the pilot programme from E-learning in 2013/2014 so our computers are now old and obsolete. The major problem now is that CXC exams are going to be delivered completely online. The pandemic has given us the option of doing the exams on paper or computers for now, but I am concerned about the future when it will be delivered completely online.
For persons who don’t know much about the school, what are some of the accomplishments you’d like to highlight?
All the CXC exams are the same for my students as they are for their hearing counterparts. We send around 8–12 students for different exams each year and we generally get high numbers of passes particularly in subjects such as Visual Arts, Accounting, Information Technology and Electronic Document Preparation Management (EDPM). We have one student who received a TWO in English Language and she is now in her fourth year at UTech, and we are very proud of her. She is also the only Deaf student who has attempted Caribbean History and passed that as well. We also have had good passes for CAPE Communication Studies and Digital Media.
Our students generally do very well in dance. We are well-known in the JCDC Deaf Dance Competition and we are often invited to perform at different events.When we walk in the competition usually says “Oh, no they’re back!” Unfortunately, we have not entered the festival competition for the last two years due to some challenges, but we do intend to go back.
You mentioned that your students do well in many subjects, but generally get jobs that they are overqualified for because of lack of interpreters. What are some resources persons outside the Deaf community can use to learn Jamaican Sign Language (JSL)?
There are 3 groups that I know currently offer classes in JSL as opposed to American Sign Language. The first point of contact would be the Jamaica Association for the Deaf. There is also a group called PAH! formed by a member of JAD, Kamar Groves and his wife, Stephanie, and they are doing pretty well with their classes. They also began the first all Deaf dance group in Jamaica. Lastly, there is Toni Aiken, the Sign Language Interpreter for the government. Her father works at Lister Mair, and she is now offering a course in JSL.
We’re currently in the climate where persons are fighting against the discrimination of black people around the world. We also acknowledge that the Deaf community also faces discrimination. What would you like to say to persons who may hold those limiting beliefs?
When you’re looking at a Deaf person you are looking at a fellow human being who is a citizen of Jamaica with the same rights as every other citizen. They can do and aspire to be anything they want to in life because the only thing that is different is that they can’t hear. Persons will go to different countries and learn other languages, but I say we can also stay in Jamaica and learn Jamaican Sign Language as a second language because it is a language just the same as any other. As hearing persons we wouldn’t want anything impeding our daily lives, and a Deaf person feels the same. They simply cannot hear and I would love for them to be respected as human first. They want to access the same things and have the same rights as anyone else and that is important.
Okay, thank you so much, those are all my questions for now. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We thank the New Kingston Rotaract Club tremendously for stepping in and being our angels in so many ways. I’m so overwhelmed by all the help NKRC has given us, and my gratitude is on behalf of my staff and my board.
The only other thing I can think of is that we need help starting a breakfast programme. Our students are generally from lower socio-economic backgrounds and our school feeding programme has become insufficient, so we’d be grateful for the assistance.
If you’d like to assist Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf or know anyone who can, please contact +1(876)927–1261
In celebration of International Coastal CleanUp Day on Saturday, September 21, 2019, the Rotaract Club of New Kingston partnered with Jamaica Environmental Trust (JET) to execute our contribution towards cleaning our coastlines. The project took place at the Palisadoes Go-Kart Track and it included our Rotary family. The Earlyactors from Queen’s Prep, the Interactors from St. George’s College and the Rotarians from our parent club RCNK also helped in the execution of the project.
The public benefitted from seeing our post as they were sensitized on suicide prevention and the club promoted Rotaract on a wider scale with the help of our social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram. The awareness raised was a joint initiative between NKRC and our twin club, Rotaract Club of Diego Martin.
The annual back to school medical which was executed took place at the Nannyville Community Center where we had representatives from the Lion’s Club doing free vision testing for the children and providing consultation to the parents as to whether their child/children would need glasses or their vision was perfect. The stations were set up so as to allow the free flow of individuals from one are to another. After they were finished testing their eyes they could then move to the dental station where two dentists were conducting teeth cleaning for the children. They also were able to get medical check-ups from several doctors on hand, two most notably are Dir. Kimberley and Rotarian Marvin from RCNK who made sure to do as thorough enough examination to ensure the kids had a clean bill of health and for those that needed to make any lifestyle adjustments their parents were given the requisite information to aid in making informed decisions as they approach the new school year. In addition there were representatives from the Road Safety Unit whom demonstrated to both the children and adults the do’s and don’ts of the road and the precautions which they must take to ensure their safety.
The 11th annual camping trip “Survivor” happened on the 7-8 of March. We journeyed up to the cold Newcastle Base of the Jamaica Defense Force in the Hills of St. Andrew. We were joined by members, visiting Rotaractors, friends, an interactor and guests. The day was filled with excitement and activities that not only help members to bond but also show off some of the skills and many talents of our diverse club members and visitors. Persons where placed into four groups to participate and compete in fun games and activities that were planned. The team that accumulated the most points at the end of the experience received the privilege of being the ultimate champions.
Each group did their own interpretation of their theme and assigned groups based on various Earth Elements E.g. air, water, fire and selected a colour to represent them and all garments and head gear had to incorporate the colour that the group had selected. Each group also had a Queen and King who had to wear traditional element/tribe wear along with this they had to make up a chant and a flag to represent their element. The groups also showcased their creativity when they were given the task to design clothing out of natural vegetation as well as cartridge paper. The participants experienced great fun and engaged in fun fellowship activities. We even had time for a Lyme after the activities that ran late into the night. The survivor package included lunch and breakfast. The opportunity to hike was unfortunately cancelled due to inclement weather.
The Club’s annual survivor camping trip helps to improve the bond between members and it also introduces guests and other persons of the Rotary family to a new experience that helps build great memories.