January 23 rd marked the annual joint meeting of the 100 Women Who Care and 100 Men Who Give A Damn held at the Bay Garden’s Beach Resort. The packed meeting voted on a new charity to which to donate funds and heard from two previous winning charities. The evening was lively, informative and fun. At the conclusion of the event, as a special surprise to members, local musician Gene Lawrence entertained the group with a wonderful collection of calypso tunes which had members enthusiastically joining in the choruses.
Valerie Jenkinson Chair of 100 Women Who Care St Lucia describes the organization as a group of dedicated men and women who care deeply about the St Lucia community. The group gathers four times a year for a one-hour meeting, with each member donating $100EC to a charity that the group selects through a ballot. “With 100 members,” Ms. Jenkinson states, “the combined donation of $10,000 each quarter makes a real impact, without time-consuming fundraising events and planning. The mission is for those of us more fortunate to provide for those in greatest need in St Lucia. $100 on its own does not do much but when 100 committed men and women join forces the combined result is really substantial.
At the meeting all members are eligible to nominate a local charity. Out of all the submissions three are picked at random. At this quarter’s meeting nominators for the three picked, Pawasol Pour Ti Mamai, Grow Well and the Cerebral Palsy Association, each made a brief presentation and then members voted. In the closest vote ever recorded Grow Well narrowly pipped the other two charities. The vote spread between the three charities was only 3 votes. As the men and women are going to pool donations at the joint meeting it is expected that donations will top the $10,000 mark. Katherine Lawrence described the work that Grow Well does and stated in her presentation that the monies donated would be used to fund the Remedial Reading programme for children at the Gros Islet primary school some of whom cannot read in Grade 7.
The last two winning charities made a presented as to how they had spent the donated funds. Last quarter’s winner The Alzheimer Association described how there are presently 150 people utilizing the services of the Association. Alzheimer’s affects not only those who suffer from the disease but often has a devastating effect on the families of those diagnosed who are left to deal with the declining abilities and cognitive loss of loved ones. The money donated by 100 Women was used to fund mental screenings and educational programmes. Alzheimer’s can be present in the body for up to 18 years before symptoms become apparent. As many people are fearful they may have early onset as they forget names and where they left their cell phone or car keys, it was of great interest to the members to undergo a quick screening test conducted by the Executive Director. Scoring above a certain level on the test reassured members they had no sign of the disease whereas scoring below came with a recommendation to look into more complete assessments.
The winning charity in July 2017 was the Sir John Compton Educational Foundation. Lady Janice Compton described how too many students, after taking 5 years of primary followed by five years of secondary school, do not have the funds to pay to take their CXC’s. Not taking their exams severely limits their opportunities in the future. The Foundation raises funds to pay for the youth to pay to sit the exams. The Foundation has so far helped over 650 young people. In a very gracious gesture Lady Compton offered 50% of the funds be split between the two other charities that presented in July, Grow Well and World Pediatric Project.
Jean St Rose, Chair 100 Men Who Give a Damn presented a cheque for $4000.00 to Pawasol Pour Ti Mamai who were the winning charity at the Men’s meeting in October.
The next meeting when new charity will be selected will be held at 6pm at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort for the 100 Women Who Care on Tuesday, 3rd April 2018. The Men’s meeting will be held on the same date and time at Coco Palm Hotel. Future meeting dates are Tuesday, 3rd July 2018 then Tuesday, 16th October 2018.
The next meeting will be special for the Women as they celebrate their 3rd Anniversary. Founding members will be recognized and there will be special surprises. If you haven’t attended for a while the group invites you back. If you are new to the group visit the webpage www.100womenwhocarestlucia.com for the ladies or 100menstlucia.com for the men.