24 Students Benefit from $17m in SOS Scholarships and Grants

Twenty-four tertiary-level students have received financial assistance totaling  17 million dollars in the seventh Annual Summer of Service Programme sponsored by The Governor- General’s Programme for Excellence (GGPE).

At the Presentation Ceremony at King’s House on Tuesday morning, August 20, Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen congratulated the award recipients for their volunteerism, for showing they cared about others and that they were willing to make sacrifices to help others and themselves succeed.

The students worked in seven parishes across Jamaica for eight weeks this summer in a variety of projects.  These included:  soliciting some $700,000  to cover camp expenses for 50 young people in volatile areas, tutoring students in Mathematics, working at State-operated children’s homes and Golden Age Homes,  providing creative learning activities for children with disabilities, and providing Back-to-School supplies.

The Governor-General told the students, “I want you to know, young people, that the good you have done over the past eight weeks will significantly impact the lives of many persons. Your commitment demonstrates a level of ambition for self-actualization and a sense of responsibility toward nation-building.”

Miss Whitney Ford, a 2018 SOS Scholarship recipient  recounted her involvement with the Programme which had helped her to achieve the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of the West Indies.  She advised the students to know themselves, know what they wanted, and find a way to serve.

Replying on behalf of the 2019 recipients, Miss Janee Harris told of her  journey, and thanked Their Excellencies for providing young people with the opportunity to ‘change Jamaica one project at a time.’

This year, there were 41 applicants for the Programme, and 24 were selected.     The financial assistance included full four-year scholarships and grants to the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus), Northern Caribbean University, the University of Technology, the Caribbean Maritime University, St Joseph’s Teachers’ College, The Mico University College, the Moneague Teacher’s College.

The students will pursue training in medicine, law, environmental health, education, tourism and hospitality management, science and technology, business administration, nursing, actuarial science, pharmacy, social work, and marketing.

Sir Patrick expressed appreciation to the Corporate Sponsors who made the donations possible.  These included: the NCB Foundation, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, NCU, National Integrity Action, Grace Kennedy Limited, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation, St Joseph’s Teacher’s College, Sandals Foundation, Mark Gonzales, Hugh Osborne, Derrimon Trading, UWI-Mona, Kingston Bookshop, and CMU.

The SOS is a Programme under The Governor-General’s I Believe Initiative and was established in 2011 under the premises that our children are the future of our nation.   To date, 75 persons have received assistance from the SOS Programme which is the major educational activity in the three-pronged I Believe Initiative – which is predicated on the pillars of family, youth and education.

GGPE National Coordinator Sonja Simms said that the Programme provided young people, about to enter universities and colleges, or those already enrolled in their first year, the opportunity to volunteer – serve their country and gain valuable workforce and other skills.

Students were required to propose a project to be executed in a public sector, governmental or non-governmental organization, and depending on successful completion of the project, they were presented with certificates, scholarships and grants.   Miss Simms reminded the students that to remain in the Programme, they  had to maintain a Grade Point Average of 3.6.