I grew up visiting Jamaica once a year as our family vacation. I got to know a few local Jamaicans and they were always very kind to me. I was not a popular child and found it difficult to make friends, but when I was there everyone loved me. Even as a child it was clear that the local people struggled to have quality of life, with all the poverty. Even when they had no food and tattered clothing, spirits were good and thanks were given for what they had and for life. When I got older and my parents separated, I continued to visit once a year and met up with my friends there. Eventually I started to stay with Jamaican friends and really got a feel for the poverty and daily struggles. I realize how lucky I am to have been born where I was, with all the opportunities that provides. I have dedicated my life to trying to improve quality of living for people who were not as fortunate as I was and who were born in a country with massive poverty and other issues. It is only luck that allows me to have a job where I am able to contribute to Spring Mountain Benefit Corp, a non-profit whose mission is to help local Jamaican people and animals. I contribute as much as I can to this organization and it definitely deserves the award. Thank you for your time.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I have traveled to this area Jamaica many times over the past 30 years. The poverty and needs of the people is striking. Yet the people are warm, welcoming and so hard working. I have had the pleasure of staying at the villa which is the basis for this charity. It is lovely. Well maintained, spacious and sitting in the heart of the community, it allows not only a relaxing vacation but a unique experience in which to really get to know the local residents and experience the true flavor of the area.
The residents are sorely in need of help. They struggle daily to provide food for their families and an education for their children. Medical care is expensive and difficult to access. The residents have to show initiative and creativity just to survive, and they do. There are no real supports for the people. Since this area is so dependent on tourism and tourism has fallen in recent years, the circumstances of the people has worsened.
The director has already devoted many years and resources to help some of the families in this community. This non-profit will help to provide supports for the development of sustainable projects to improve the lives of the residents: it will help to give money for the (not free) educational needs of the children - books, supplies, uniforms, tuition; allow access to much needed health care so people don't die of conditions which can be easily treated and make it possible to improve the infrastructure of an area which struggles with not having the most basic services like adequate water and roads.
This is a potentially wonderful way to help people directly - either through a monetary contribution or a visit to this lovely, enchanting villa.
I've spent time in Green Island Jamaica on a few occasions while I was on vacation in Jamaica. We stayed at spring mountain villa which donates it's profits to it's namesakes charity. It's a wonderful place atop a beautiful mountain with ocean views. I went with a good friend who had stayed there many times and has made Jamaica a big part of her life. For me it was my first time out of the states since I was a child and first ever to a tropical island. We arrived in Montego Bay and had to drive to green island passing through Negril on the way. There were little hotels and a small ocean side city in Negril. Jimmy Buffets cheeseburgers and Sandals resort were on the way out of town. In a bit we reached green island. As we drove up the narrow mountain road we passed the homes of the locals. Manny of the houses were little more than plywood and patchwork with corrugated metal sheets for roofs and fencing. There were concrete and cinderblock homes as well. Manny buildings that were larger were in stages of forgotten construction. It must have been Sunday because we passed a few small churches which had rather large attendance. One nice older church was only a shell and had no roof, still there was a full service in swing. I really didn't know any of Jamaica's history and received the abbreviated version. At one point I noticed a thin PVC pipe half inch at most running above ground right next to the road. I was told it was water for the entire mountain, this blew my mind and brought into perspective a lot of things we take for granted back home here in the states. Sure enough I saw a few if the local men fixing the water line one day after a car had bumped into it, I also learned that even with the tiny pipe ship shape there are times that the water is shut off and diverted to the "more important needs". We had rather large water tanks at the villa so water was no issue. Every where we went the people were warm and excited to have us. Hard times have taken there toll on much of the world, for a place like Jamaica which depends on tourism to flourish it's that much tougher. Spring Mountain Benefit is trying to help address some of the issues. One that stands out for me was education for the local kids. Schools require fees, and the kids wear uniforms. All of that adds up to money that I'm sure some family's don't have. There's plenty of places that help is needed all around down there and this charity is a step in the right direction. With a little help from others I believe that Spring Mountain Benefit corp can really help some kind and decent people in need. Help out if you can or if you like the idea of getting more hands on look into the villa I mentioned and go spend time with the people you'll be helping.