Scores of elegantly attired friends and well wishers of the New York based charity Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) braced the New York chill and the challenging economic climate to help the group mark its 14th annual Scholarship Gala at the Crown Plaza, La Guardia Airport, last Saturday, December 6, 2008.
The soiree, held under the distinguished patronage of Consul General to New York, Mrs. Geneive Brown Metzer and featuring Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett as keynote speaker, was the fourteenth such fundraiser for COJO which has spent close to a decade and a half administering to the needs of Jamaica’s disadvantaged youth.
With many Jamaicans arrayed around the room, Minister Bartlett commended the work of Williams and COJO and implored parents in the Diaspora not to forget some of their own children that they have left at home.
“Some of you abroad forget your children at home; plenty don’t, but some of you do” Minister Bartlett admonished as he segued to his prepared speech to bring the assembled throng up to speed on the many new developments in the Tourism sector.
In a brief welcome Gary Williams, Founder and Chairman of COJO thanked the patrons for their support of the organization and its many charitable ventures and in helping the group realize its mission.
Since COJO’s inception, the volunteer-driven charity has helped to sustain a number of institutions in Jamaica and the United States. These include the Alpha Boys’ Home; Glenhope Place of Safety; Marigold Child Care Centre, Musgrave Girls’ Home and City of Refuge in Jamaica; and in New York, the Jamaica, Queens YMCA and Leaf of Life.
From its New York perch, the Charity has given yeoman service to Jamaica’s disadvantaged youth. This tradition will continue as members travel to Jamaica from Monday December 8-12, 2008 to deliver half a dozen computers to the Windward Road Primary School in Kingston, among other activities.
This year’s gala began with a cocktail reception, followed by a full dinner, open bar and recorded music for dancing by Empea Entertainment. Attendees were afforded the chance to win an array of prizes, which included airline tickets and hotel stay, courtesy of some of its sponsors.