Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Giving is Joy - truth!

PROComm/Stella Maris Foundation scholar, medical student Tricia Campbell (second left), receives a symbolic cheque for $200,000 towards her tuition from Jean Lowrie-Chin (centre), managing director of PROComm, recently. Looking on are (from left) Janielle Jackson, manager, Stella Maris Foundation, Frances Beard and Hubert Chin, company directors.
A surprise visit by world swimming Champion Alia Atkinson
to our PROComm Scholars Christmas get-together brought so much joy!
Even as a much smaller business, my company,  PROComm launched a Scholarship Fund in 2001 to benefit children living in the Grants Pen Area.  The first scholar,  Etmour Williams is now a University Grad and marketing manager.  He recently visited with our current scholars.. You can imagine our delight when world record swimmer Alia Atkinson dropped in! (see photos above).
With Lady Allen and Aloun Assamba at a CCRP event
at King's House.  
We also founded, operate and sponsor CCRP (the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons) - our sponsorship to date is over J$15 million.  Read more about this at    http://lowrie-chin.blogspot.com/2017/01/ccrp-founded-to-honour-my-mother-other.html. 
Earlier this year,  we made a special presentation to a Medical Student from the Grants Pen area.. See photo above and report from the Star below.
From the Star.. Feb 2016
Tricia Campbell, a fourth-year medical student at the University of the West Indies, Mona, was the recent recipient of a scholarship cheque for $200,000 towards her tuition, from PRO Communications Limited and the Stella Maris Foundation. The official presentation of her scholarship cheque was made to her on Friday, February 19 at PROComm, 2 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10.
Campbell has been excelling despite numerous challenges she has faced over the years. She has also volunteered with numerous projects coordinated by the Stella Maris Foundation. It was for these reasons, her outstanding academic performance, and more, that she was chosen for this donation. During the last four years, Campbell received small grants from Stella Maris. This is her largest scholarship cheque to date, which she said she was extremely grateful for.
The cheque was presented by Jean Lowrie-Chin, managing director, PROComm, and members of the board of her company. Just two days before this presentation, PROComm's founding director, Maisie Lowrie, passed away. The PROComm directors dedicated this grant to her blessed memory.
We have learned that in reaching out,  God keeps Her-His promise of returning our kindness many times over. 

Season's Blessings! 
Jean Lowrie-Chin 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Please pray!

Message from my friend Anne...  

Today at 9 pm, Pope Francis calls everyone around the world no matter where you are, nor the creed or religion to a moment of meditation or prayer for peace in Syria and the rest of the world. The whole planet united in prayer For peace.
If you can forward it, please join us in urgent prayer, because the radical Islamist group has just taken Quaragosh, Iraq's largest Christian city. Where there are hundreds of Christian men, women and children who are being beheaded. It is asking for prayer cover. Please take a minute and pray for them. Pass the message to all your contacts, do not cut the chain.
We have been asked to pray, please pass it on to others. Eur-lex.europa.eu eur-lex.europa.eu

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting the Peace and Goodwill we need

Observer column published 19 DEC 2016

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
A family lighting Advent Candle at
Stella Maris
  Christmas is a big deal in Jamaica. However humble we may be, we are ‘drawing’ our sorrel, sprucing up our homes and sending cards by mail or internet to our loved ones. Church folks are now in the final week of Advent as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and focus on the message of ‘Peace and Goodwill’ that this historic event heralded.
Our Awareness Walk against Domestic Violence
at Hope Gardens
However, for many Jamaican families, their joy has been extinguished by evil thugs who have been murdering, raping and robbing the innocent, with no regard for age or gender. In recent weeks, the scourge of domestic violence has become even more painful. Two organizations, WeChange and the 51Percent Coalition, with the support of UN Women and the USAID, organized an Awareness Walk last Sunday at Hope Gardens to discuss this dangerous trend. Some 50 women and men formed groups to discuss such issues as street harassment, financial harassment, and various other areas of concerns. 
One gay young woman from an inner-city community said she was gang-raped and became pregnant. She went ahead and had the child, whom she loves dearly. She related to us that one of her attackers told her that she was lucky, ‘because if the don never dead you would get shot long time’.
Those who created these monsters, who are now beyond their control, should be hanging their heads in shame. They must make amends: fund scholarships for social workers so we can have them on the ground in these communities, start volunteer groups of mediators to detect family issues before they escalate. At the Stella Maris Foundation (SMF), psychology majors were invited to man a counselling post at our headquarters, a mutually beneficial project as they could extract data and anecdotal evidence for use in their theses. We saw a marked decrease in domestic violence because of this, and we are happy that Omar Frith, once SMF CEO is now at the Social Development Commission where he can introduce such a programme on a wider scale.

As churches celebrate the arrival of Christ, the life of Jesus is the template for their mission.  Beyond the Christmas treats and gift-giving, we need to examine how we can make a lasting impact on our communities. While I appreciate the efforts of colleagues on the National Prayer Breakfast Committee, and we have continued to support their publicity efforts, let us hope that their next event will be held at Emancipation Park.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Why we must go #beyond16days

Letter from Emma Lewis 
via Joan 'Joy'  Grant Cummings 


Dear Sisters:

While writing a blog post the other day, it struck me that women and girls are victims - day in, day out it goes on. From five months to 84 years old. Here is a short and incomplete list from the past week ONLY:

  • Jeneta Gordon (Miss Jenny) was raped and murdered by a man who climbed in her bedroom window. She was 84 years old. Bell Rock, St. Catherine.
  • Alexia Brown was shot dead in Porto Bello, St. James, with her baby daughter in her arms. The 5 month-old girl later died in hospital.
  • Chrissy Vaughan, 31, was shot in the head as she tried to drive away from a party in Bogue Village, St. James where gunfire had broken out
  • Lena Powell (73) and her daughter Lisette (44) died in a fire in Craighead, Manchester after shots were heard. The police suspect arson/murder.
  • Then, this morning about 5 minutes away from our house, the police blocked the road because of a crime (murder) scene. This was the reason: 

"Irate lover."

I have not mentioned the 14 year old girl who was raped and then carried in the same police car as her rapist…who then "escaped" from the police station.

- Emma Lewis @Petchary 

Caribbean Development Activist Women's Network
Women's Resource and Outreach Centre [WROC] 
51% Coalition - Women in Partnership & Empowerment
Telephone: (876) 342-6940
E-mail: braceletsofjoy@gmail.com
Skype: Gracum591

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dennis Lalor’s clarion call

Hon Dennis Lalor OJ - Jamaica Observer Photo
Excerpt from Jamaica Observer column| by Jean Lowrie-Chin | 12 December 2016

Business leader Dennis Lalor has sounded the call for integrity and commitment.  The private sector Hall of Famer gave us a first-hand account of Jamaica’s recent economic history at the 40th Anniversary Luncheon of the PSOJ held last Thursday. He described the downturn in the economy towards the end of the sixties as “the rot of ages”, one that left Jamaica’s economy limping from administration to administration.
After the creation of the PSOJ in 1986 there was intensive dialogue with Government officials as they discussed a way out of Jamaica’s economic slump.  Mr. Lalor’s PSOJ presidency coincided with the second Manley administration of 1989. “What is not publicly known,” he said, “is that a few of us had established a joint PSOJ-PNP working group, while the PNP was in Opposition … a similar initiative was started with the [then] JLP Government but the constraint of government inhibited progress.”

“In fact,” he continued, “the PNP 1989 manifesto included much of these agreed policy positions reflecting the shift, or ‘evolution’ as Prime Minister Manley would describe it.”

This evolution saw the liberalisation of the of the country’s foreign exchange regime, as the former had resulted in “the corruption and illegality of the public and private sectors.” He noted that Prime Minister Manley saw the benefit of his government’s relationship with the PSOJ, and included them in his first meeting with President Bush in 1991, “to demonstrate his rightward political shift… However Mr Manley’s deteriorating health intervened, and the shared policy vision gradually faded, followed by a crisis in the financial sector.”

Mr Lalor’s account of the extensive, data driven voluntary activity of Jamaica’s finest business minds, indicate the unremitting focus of our private sector leaders on Jamaica’s economic well-being. It grieves me that PNP representatives were absent from the signing of the partnership agreement last week, because it contained the word ‘prosperity’.  Social media lit up, with folks asking if we should desist from wishing each other “a prosperous New Year”, for fear of being labelled.  
Dennis Lalor’s contribution to nation-building has seen the steady growth of his ICWI insurance company, his leadership of several other private and public sector organisations, and his King’s House Restoration initiative. He closed his presentation with a clarion call: “It is never too late. And as the country moves forward with its growth agenda, it would be advantageous to also embark on a moral re-awakening, stressing respect for law and order, life and property, commitment to each other, community and country and above all, being able to distinguish between right and wrong, and the determination to do the right thing.”

William Mahfood - LOOP Photo

We use this opportunity to applaud the PSOJ presidency of William Mahfood, one of the kindest, wisest Jamaicans I know, to congratulate the new President the innovative P.B. Scott, and to commend the great work of the PSOJ team, under the keen leadership of Dennis Chung. Happy 40th Anniversary!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Salute to Errol Lee

His having been recently honoured as a distinguished media veteran,  this is a good opportunity to salute the generous, multi-talented Jamaican, Errol Lee, who recently was elected Lion Club's Vice District Governor for the Caribbean.  

The Knox College, UWI and Thompson Television, Scotland graduate is also well known as the leader of the Bare Essentials Band which was formed in 1971 and has been a presenter and lecturer at various tertiary institutions.  Errol Lee has been a familiar voice in Jamaica media starting with JBC, then JBC-TV, JIS-TV, Power 106 and Newstalk. 

His philanthropy embraces Kingston YMCA, the Heart Foundation, Alpha Institute, Jamaica Cancer Society and the Lions Club of Kingston Sight Project. 

He is married to PR guru and social activist, Lorna Lee and together they have not only been great parents, but also have mentored many others.

- Jean Lowrie-Chin 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Butch Hendrickson’s Shining Year

Jamaica Observer column for MON 12 DEC 2016
By Jean Lowrie-Chin 
Butch Hendrickson at Little Leaders Launch - with
his wonderful 'cheerleader' Sister Benedict Chung,
Founder of the Laws Street Trade Training Centre

The 'Little Leaders' Mobile
Last Sunday the Jamaica Observer held its first ever Corporate Philanthropy Awards event; it was uplifting to hear the achievements of the eight nominees but indeed we can now declare 2016 " The Year of Butch Hendrickson".  It is due reward for a captain of industry who has never sought to promote himself but instead has invested millions in the promotion of others.  His Bold Ones of Manufacturing series have empowered over 30 small manufacturers who have ascended to new heights. His generous Crayons Count has evolved into the Little Leaders Programme, an islandwide project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to promote not only literacy and numeracy, but also critical thinking.

His "Jamaican Made Christmas" had the Jamaica Pegasus Ballroom abuzz for the second year, with small and micro businesses participating free of charge, and enjoying booming sales beyond their expectations. His close alliance with that inspiring philanthropist Glen Christian, and the quiet giver Melanie Subratie, has resulted in that sparkling model, the Union Gardens Infant School.

Butch Hendrickson with a representative of Mustard Seed at
Jamaican Made Christmas.  He is a longtime
supporter of the organisation.
The other outstanding nominees sprang to their feet at the announcement of Butch Hendrickson's name. They included Digicel Chairman Denis O'Brien, who remarked that this award could not have been given to a more deserving person.  With the Gleaner Honour Award presented in January (see story below), The Hummingbird Philanthropy Award presented by the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ) in October, the PSOJ Hall of Fame induction later that month and now the Business Observer's Philanthropy Award, we can say that Butch Hendrickson is being acknowledged finally for his many years of silent support of myriad causes.  Sr. Mary Benedict Chung, founder of the Laws Street Trade Training Centre has averred that she does not know how her institution, which supports so many in downtown Kingston, could have survived without the kindness of Butch.

"Giving back is both a passion and a mission," Butch noted. "It is a personal choice to which I am firmly committed because I believe that it is simply the right thing to do. And my National Family knows my mantra: Make profit, because I am going to give it away."

He continued: "At National, we do not regard our passion to give back as an incidental by-product of our business.  It is the core value of our business. It is what gives purpose and meaning to our productivity and success. We know that if you feel right about what you do; if you feel inspired and motivated by what you do, then you must be doing the right thing."

He shared the Award with his team: "None of our philanthropy would be possible without our team's determination to excel, not only in terms of productivity, but in attitude, social awareness and loyalty. And so, to them, and our customers, this recognition is really yours, and I humbly accept it on your behalf."

We salute this phenomenal Jamaican, whose footsteps we should try to follow, even as he followed those of his pioneering parents, Karl and Nell Hendrickson.

Gleaner Honour Award: Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson - Creating A Better Future

Published:The Gleaner |Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
With an admirable zeal for early-childhood development, Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson, managing director of Continental Baking Company, has decided to make it his mission to help steer Jamaica towards a flourishing future by positively impacting today's budding generation.
"If you can prepare someone for the future in grade school, then on to primary, then secondary school and on to college, then already you have set the foundation for a future of unlimited possibilities," Hendrickson shared.
"It has been generally accepted that age three to eight is the most important learning stage in a child's life, and more and more you see a shift towards putting greater emphasis on early-childhood development. I am quite heartened by that, and I intend to do all I can by making available the necessary resources so that the trained persons in that field have what they need to positively impact early-childhood development."
Putting his money where his mouth is, last year, Hendrickson partnered with Glen Christian, chief executive officer and chairman of Cari-Med Ltd, for the pioneering $175-million Union Gardens Infant School project.

First Public-Private Project

Located in Delacree Park, St Andrew, the state-of-the-art early-childhood institution is the first public-private partnership project, executed and funded through the efforts of several stakeholders, including: The Cari-Med/Kirk Distributors Foundation; The CHASE Fund; National Baking Company Foundation; Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF)/EU Poverty Reduction Programme; the Seprod and Musson foundations; Sandals Foundation; Stewart Industrial; Kingston Wharves Limited; The Tank-Weld Group; Delta Supply Company Limited; Jamaica National Building Society; Advanced Integrated Systems Ltd; Corrpak Jamaica Limited; General Accident Insurance Company Jamaica Limited; Food for the Poor Jamaica; Courts Jamaica; The Gleaner Company Limited; JPS Foundation; National Water Commission; and PROVEN Management Limited.
Modelled off Christian's brainchild, Evelyn Mitchell Infant School/Centre of Excellence in Top Hill, Clarendon, Union Gardens Infant has stepped up a notch, creating an early-childhood institution unlike any other.
"Hands down, the Union Gardens project is the most exciting one I have done. I think it will change the way children will go to school," said Hendrickson.
"It is unique in the quality of the layout, the offerings, style, the entire set-up is child-centred. It is quite unlike any basic school in Jamaica, a concept very unique and target-specific for children. What we did was find out best practices and apply and improve on that."
Construction for Union Gardens Infant started in January 2015, and was completed nine months later, just in time for the new school term.
Built to accommodate 150 students aged three to six, among the features of the school are: astro turf playground, an administrative block, three-classroom modules with each module having its own bathroom, child-built bathrooms, library, auditorium, wired for solar powering, unlimited water supply, rainwater harvesting for irrigation and potable water storage, two meals per day, a full-service canteen, school bus pick-up and drop-off, among other features.
"It has been well received by the students and parents, and hopefully in five to seven years, we will see the end results of that in the GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) results. We will continue to improve on each model, and hopefully replicate it across Jamaica in all the parishes. Ideally, we would like to build one each year," he said.
"Frankly, if I could rid Jamaica of one social ill, it would be illiteracy. In fact, if I were to go into full-time voluntary service, early-childhood development would be it, because it is the most effective. I don't believe in a situation where you have to fix a problem down the road; I would rather avoid that by having a good base to begin with. Helping children to get a really good start means a world of difference to me," he said.
"With my children, I try to give them as big an advantage as possible, and I am trying to do exactly the same with all the children I possibly can across Jamaica. It really can't hurt to give them the best head start that you can."


Through the invaluable humanitarian projects of the National Baking Company Foundation, headquartered on Half-Way-Tree Road, St Andrew, the man known for his heart of gold said giving back is both a passion and a mission.
"This is one of the reasons I get up in the mornings. I look forward to the next project of giving back to Jamaica with a challenge. I have a love for philanthropy unlike any other," Hendrickson stated.
In fact, from as far back as can be remembered, the Hendrickson family and Continental Baking Company have been synonymous with altruism in Jamaica.
Hendrickson shared that he was first introduced to benevolence by his grandmother.
"I grew up seeing my grandmother packing bags every Christmas to give to the needy and we all had to help her. I didn't understand it then, but I suppose that was the first time I saw philanthropy in action. And she always had a smile on her face when she was doing it," he said.
"In fact, I can't think of a time when my family and the company were not giving back in one form or another to one cause or another."
Among the many charitable projects the foundation is involved with are: Crayons Count, Mustard Seed Communities, Missionaries of the Poor, St Patrick's Foundation, Talk Up Youth, and Bustamante Hospital for Children.
Last year, they also partnered on The Bold Ones of Manufacturing, to help small companies grow.
Hendrickson said giving back is a personal choice, which doesn't make him more special than anyone else, "it is simply the right thing to do".
With a roar of laughter, he said, "Emotionally, it is very gratifying, and thankfully, not particularly challenging from a financial standpoint, because the challenge to senior management here is quite simple: Make profit because I'm going to give it away."

He added, "The reality is that our philanthropy is made possible only by our profits. If the company wasn't profitable, we couldn't give away as much. I feel that I am, and by extension, my family, are so blessed, God has been good to us, and we have a responsibility to give back. The Jamaican consumers have been so good to our business, and we consider it a privilege and an honour to give back to them."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In Pursuit of Joy - Joy Spence honoured

Master Blender Joy Spence flanked by husband Emile
and JWN Chairman Clement 'Jimmy' Lawrence
'In Pursuit of Joy’ was the witty title of last Thursday’s event held by J. Wray & Nephew Limited to honour Joy Spence, the first woman Masterblender in the world.  

Master of ceremonies Beverley Anderson-Duncan took us on a wondrous journey through Joy's life of excellence.

The Toasts were led by none other than Most Hon Juliet Holness MP and wife of the Prime Minister.  Who better to laud the multi-tasking Joy Spence, as they both have been exceptional at work-life balance, a great example for their fellow women.

Master of Ceremonies
Beverley Anderson-Duncan
Most Hon. Juliet Holness MP
toasts Joy Spence
The brilliant, humble Joy Spence was a chemistry whiz, who after graduating from UWI returned to her alma mater Holy Childhood High School, to teach the subject.  One of her former students, Dr Novelette McKnight, now a lecturer in Chemistry at UWI, said it was Joy Spence who made the subject so exciting, because of her creative methods of teaching.

After gaining her Master’s Degree with record breaking marks, Joy crossed over from academia to manufacturing at J.Wray & Nephew Limited, rising to the position of Director of Quality and Technical Services, from which she retired earlier this year.  However, her prized position as the company’s Masterblender continues, and will actually be escalated next year as noted by Wray & Nephew Chairman Clement ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, and outlined by Gruppo Campari Global Brand PR Manager (Rums), Catherine McDonald.
Wyvolyn Gager, first woman Editor-in-Chief
at the Gleaner toasts Joy Spence

Gruppo Campari Global Brand PR
Manager (Rums), Catherine McDonald
The most moving moment of the event was the tribute by Joy’s daughter Tracy-Ann, who spoke about her mother’s unending generosity and her ability to serve both family and workplace fully. Congratulations Joy Spence – well deserved!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Amazing Dr Donovan Calder

One of the proud moments at our Heroes' Day National Honours Ceremony, was to see Dr Donovan ‘Danny’ Calder being conferred with the Order of Distinction - Commander Class.  This brilliant, humble ophthalmologist and entrepreneur has made his family, friends and colleagues proud, witnessed by the large turnout at his celebration at the Jamaica Pegasus. 

As he traced his journey from Allman Town to his comfortable St. Andrew environs, he told us of those days when his family shared premises with several others, who though poor took pride in decent family life, Godliness and cleanliness.  “Poverty is not squalor,” he reminded us as he described the care the residents took in keeping their surroundings orderly, and their enduring mutual support.

The example of his parents is mirrored in the strong family he and his inspiring wife Diane have raised.  They run his business together, famous for the long waits of his patients who keep returning because once they get into his office at Tangerine Place, they become the only patient in the world for this gifted doctor.  Congratulations Danny and Diane!