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Showing and Sharing Service

Jamaica is not exactly part of Amazonia, but the Dominican Sisters of Peace have animated the dream of volunteer service in this island nation. We have found that it's religious AND lay people, students and young professionals who can bring valuable skills and knowledge to areas of need.

Sr. Gene Poore, OP, in Jamaica

In 1992, Sr. Gene Poore, OP, answered the call to help staff a summer program at St. Pius X, West Kingston, Jamaica. Not only did she meet and work with many local children, but she was introduced to twins Roxanne and Ramona, who are now American citizens working with the Congregation in Columbus, OH.

Annual summer programs at St. Pius X in West Kington and at Riverton Meadows, a local landfill that is home to close to 2,000 people, have been in operation for more than 35 years. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the help of American and Canadian volunteers, these summer programs continue to offer the children who attend academic classes, games, music, art, and Bible stories, along with breakfast, lunch, and a snack.

These programs have been supported by grants from the Sisters of the Precious Blood, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and CommonSpirit Health, formerly Catholic Health Initiatives, as well as private donors. Sr. Gene has brought other Sisters, Associates, and volunteers from the Dominican Sisters of Peace to participate in program activities.

With the assistance of our donors, a youth center was created out of a shipping container. The center provides a site for homework help and a safe place for children and young people to gather, but it's also become a hub for the community, where food and other assistance can be offered to Riverton Meadow's elderly and homebound.

In 2016, Dominican Associate and Dominican Sisters of Peace staff member Yahaira Rose joined Sr. Gene and a group of students from Ohio Dominican University to participate in activities in Kingston and Riverton Meadows.

Sr. Gene partners with Farnoosh Droodgar, a volunteer with the Mustard Seed Communities and executive director and founder of LEAD (Leadership Empowerment Action Development). With the help of generous funders, LEAD offers students career and job search training, leadership skills, and violence prevention strategies. Sr. Gene and Farnoosh work together to raise awareness of the need in Jamaica and expand the services offered to the community.

Sr. Barb Kane, OP, volunteers with children in Jamaica in 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, student volunteers from the business club at Albertus Magnus College, and their professor, Dr. Clara Munson, traveled to Jamaica to offer workshops for young people interested in starting their own businesses. The following year, Art Therapy students from Albertus and their instructor traveled to Jamaica to assist in art activities in the summer program. Our volunteer work came full circle when Sisters Mary Vuong and Tram Bui, an occupational therapist and a physical therapist, respectively, trained caregivers at New Jerusalem in 2017. New Jerusalem, part of the Mustard Seed Communities, offers care and life skills training to handicapped and abandoned children in Jamaica. This training has helped the caregivers assist the children in reaching their potential.

Today, our Dominican Sisters of Peace volunteers provide educational assistance, including tuition supplies, uniforms and books, and skills training to youth training and licensing for in-demand jobs. This program has led to dozens of young Jamaicans learning marketable skills, including phlebotomy, nursing, food and hospitality work, construction trades, and more. Many recipients of this training offered volunteer service themselves, serving the neighborhood’s poor during the COVID pandemic.  

The Apostle Peter tells us, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another. The Dominican Sisters of Peace are blessed to share their gifts and to help others share the gifts of Christ’s love.

Click here to donate to our work in Jamaica.

3 thoughts on “Showing and Sharing Service

  1. GRATEFUL TO YOU,SR. GENE, FOR FOLLOWING THE LEAD OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN BRINGING RAMONA AND ROXANNE TO AMERICA. WE ARE SO BLESSED TO HAVE THEM IN OUR MIDST. AND TO ALL YOU CONTINUE TO DO FOR THE PEOPLE IN JAMAICA WITH EDUCATION AND ASSISTANCE.
    GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY,
    SR. BRIGID, OP

  2. Gene, thank you for this great review of all the ministry you, and many volunteers over the years, have continue to do with the Children and People in Jamaica. I like the name Mustard Seed Communities. May this ministry continue. Nancy Jane Kuntz OP

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