Posts from — November 2010
Maya Angelo has a powerful statement. “ I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Usually, we apply this sentiment to how we relate to others outside of our family. Imagine with me if we embrace this principle to those closest to us.
Well, a father planted the seed of this sentiment in the heart of young Kalpesh Patel.
A mother nurtured the sentiment through the practice of her faith.
Jamaica is beginning to experiencing the first fruits of this parental investment in the life and initiative of Kalpesh Patel, founding member of the LAJ foundation.
The Laj Foundation is a small but quickly growing Miami-based foundation is working on lessening the financial burden on Jamaica’s parents by providing their children with necessary school supplies to make sure each student in Jamaica receives equal educational opportunities.
Founded in January 2009 by University of Miami by finance major Kalpesh Patel, the LAJ Foundation is a Christian non-profit organization based on the principles of love, altruism and justice. LAJ’s mission is to aid and facilitate educational resources in Jamaican inner city schools, through funding and donations from strategic partnerships with businesses and persons in the local and international communities.
We had the opportunity to catch up with this busy young man to get a sense of what drives him and his band of committed volunteers.
Click here to listen to his passion about caring.
Since 2009, two successful projects have been launched to advance LAJ’s mission: a school supply drive called “The Street Alternative Initiative” (S.A.I.) and a cricket benefit match called, “The Inter-Collegiate Cricket Benefit” (I.C.C.B.).
Both projects acquired considerable donations of money and school supplies. LAJ is currently working with three inner city schools based in Kingston – the Pauline Gentles Basic School, Youth Reaching Youth and Liberty Academy at the Priory to conduct a needs analysis and will distribute the donations accordingly.
We are several means of responding to this knowledge.
We can decide to do something for our country and encourage these young people with our diversity of investments.
We can plant seeds of giving in our children hearts.
We can decide to bury passivity, and become engaged in some community building enterprise.
Let’s move it!
November 25, 2010 No Comments
From the curbside, you know you will be engaging with Jamaicans whose hearts are far away, and at home. Don & Rubi Morgan have set up home in Washington DC, but their hearts and efforts find activity in places like Tivoli Gardens.
The details of this model of Jamaica is exquisite.What is more compelling is their love for their home land and their fierce determination to do everything in their capability to uplift and enhance the lives of fellow Jamaicans who find themselves squeezed by the circumstances of life.
They have tirelessly led a volunteer group for the past 27 years in delivering hope and healing to a broad cross section of Jamaica.
Don stays away from the web so I take liberty in boasting about Jamaica Volunteers Association, Inc.
This Association is a charitable non-profit tax exempt (501) (c3) organization that has been assisting needy educational, healthcare, and community outreach projects.
A profile of the history of JVA can be found at this link.
Since the incidence in Tivoli this past Spring, the Morgans have been restless, looking for a way of helping. They found their way to Jamaica this Summer and is putting in place plans to work with a inner city organization .
Here in a nutshell is the project:
Raise US$25K to help those harmed by the recent violence and the heavy flood rains .
As we enter the holiday season, our hearts are filled with gratitude even with the challenging circumstance we find ourselves in.
Let us pitch in and support this worthy effort with a generous contribution. Give, uplift and cheer should be our watchword.
Share the word with your friends and remit some share.
He would be happy to hear from you – 202726-8292.
It has been my privilege to know and witness the modeling of this couple. May their spirit of giving as captured in this poem become viral.
Stout-Hearted Men (and Women)
Give me some men who are stout-hearted men
Who will fight for the right they adore.
Start me with ten, who are stout-hearted men
And I’ll soon give you ten thousand more.
Oh! Shoulder to shoulder and bolder and bolder
They grow as they go to the fore!
Then there’s nothing in the world can halt or mar a plan,
When stout-hearted men can stick together man to man!
You who have dreams,
If you act, they will come true.
To turn your dream to a fact
It’s up to you.
If you have the soul and the spirit,
Never fear it, you’ll see it through.
Hearts can inspire other hearts with their fire,
For the strong obey when a strong man
Shows them the way.
Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II
November 17, 2010 No Comments
The favorite day of the entrepreneur is the day when the clock falls back creating a 25 hour day. For the mompreneur (a mom entrepreneur) this is especially a blessing as she is usually balancing, home., work, and developing a business dream. You live for balance, but the passion of the drive and a supportive family can make all the difference in the world.
Well, meet Gillian Russell. Her day job is an attorney but early in the morning you will find her and a posse of friends setting up shop in a bakery in Baltimore. Yes a commercial certified bakery to take a roomful of the healthiest ingredients, passionate care to produce the best loaves north of Coronation market. Find her product at healthy bakery.
It all was spurred into action in 2005 by the nurturing heart of a mom wanted the best for her kids. Gillian is one of those moms who reads the fine print on labels and squeeze the loaves, only to find more air than product.
The lack of nutritionally sound breads free from chemical additives steeled the decision. Gillian thus decided to make breads using whole grains and unadulterated ingredients, without artificial preservatives and refined or processed stuff.
Curious as to the ingredients, she did not hesitate to generously share. Here is a quick experiment you can do to gauge the health of your loaves. Go to the frig or breadbox and see how those labels compare with these.
• Breads include Fruit and Nut (made with organic currants, raisins, cherries, cranberries and walnuts. Enhanced with a touch of Coriander, Orange Peel and Organic Evaporated Cane Juice)
• Organic Multigrain Bread–made with 7 organic grains and totally wholesome
• Organic Agave and Flax–made with organic raw agave nectar and organic flax seed meal
• Whole Wheat bread–made with whole wheat flour and a hint of Agave Nectar
• Jamaican Style Raisin Bread–made with organic raisins, a kiss of Coriander and Organic Raw Agave Nectar and Evaporated Cane Juice.
As delicious as her products are, Gillian is motivated by using this initiative to invest in education within her community. Listen to her passion for baking and helping others in this insightful interview.
Click to hear Gillian’s wisdom.
If you are diabetic, have a food allergy, or want to enhance your food choice with healthy choice that will delight your taste buds, there is no better choice.
The Adventist Book and health food Center in Maryland is the only place that the breads are currently available, but she is working on getting these healthy delights into other health food stores including My Organic Market (MOMs) and Roots. Online ordering is available at her website
From the empty selves, and waiting line I am getting my order in before the holiday rush.
Bread is the staff of life.
- Jonathan Swift
November 7, 2010 No Comments
Jamaica has slipped 3 places to the 55th spot, below neighboring Trinidad (44th.), in the World Prosperity Index due to the measure of the economy health-care and education systems.
While last year, Jamaica stood at 52nd position, according to London-based Legatum Institute that compiled the index.
The Index is topped by Norway. Other countries in the top five are Denmark (2), Finland (3), Australia (4) and New Zealand (5). The US ranked 10th.
The prosperity index is based on 89 variables over 110 countries, grouped into eight sub-indices, and claims to comprehensively rank the level of prosperity in 110 nations of the world.
It is done by taking into account both economic growth and citizens’ quality of life, drawing on data from various sources, including the Gallup World Poll 2009 and UN development Report.
The country ranked low on economy (79th. In the index) education ground (76th in the Index), health (68th).
The Jamaican economy struggles with high unemployment and high inflation
The two measures on which Jamaica ranks highest were personal freedom (45th. ranking), and entrepreneurship & opportunity (47th. ranking).
“The Legatum Prosperity Index is the world’s only global assessment of wealth and well being. It uses a holistic definition of prosperity, which includes factors ranging from economic growth to health and education, to personal freedom and governance,” Legatum Institute Senior Fellow Ashley Lenihan said.
Details on Jamaica profile
Meanwhile, on the lower end of the rankings were Zimbabwe (110), Pakistan (109), Central African Republic (108), Ethiopia (107) and Nigeria (106).
The Prosperity Index presents a broad view of wealth, happiness and prospects of the world’s nations and citizens captured in eight sub-indexes.
The idea behind the Index is that material wealth alone does not make for a happy society, but happy citizens are produced as much by democracy, freedom, social cohesion and entrepreneurial opportunity as they are by a growing economy.
Prosperity is found in entrepreneurial democracies that have strong social fabrics.
1. Entrepreneurship and opportunity correlate more closely to a nation’s overall prosperity than any other factor.
2. It pays to be a democracy.
3. Changes in the “social fabric” of a country can lead to big changes in national prosperity.
4. Prosperity is about balance.
Let’s take the glass is half-filled approach. How can we best leverage our strengths to grow our nation?
November 1, 2010 No Comments