Giving Back to Jamaica

By: Johdinann Hartley, Trishell Brown, Winston Jarrett and Michael Lewis, 2018 Summer Work Travel participants & 2018 Ambassador Scholars

The idea of our project came to light after much discussion amongst ourselves assessing how best we can impact our home community. After several discussions, we decided that the best impact to make during this Christmas season was an environmental one! This is the season when many people visit the beach, and as such, our shores become filled with too much garbage.

On December 20, we journeyed to Hellshire Beach early in the morning from before 10 am. The experience was just exceptional! We were greeted by the very friendly and kind workers at Hellshire Beach. They were very excited to hear that we were students who are giving back and many of them spoke of how much they wish more efforts such as these were made in the community.

We were separated into groups for the garbage collection and Michael’s group filled the most bags.

Here is what each ambassador had to say about the experience:

TRISHELL: This service highlighted the importance of taking care of the environment for me. Our beautiful island Jamaica is so precious, and it felt great to have been able to make an impact on keeping our shores clean.

MICHAEL : Bwaie a lang time mi nuh pick up likkle rubbish, suh mi dee feel useful chru mi elp wid di kleen up projek ah Helsha. [Translation: Oh my, it has been a while since I picked up garbage, so I felt useful because I helped with the cleanup project at Hellshire]. I did not only feel good because I was aiding in the cleanliness of a sub-section of Jamaica, happiness permeated my entire body when I saw that the people from the community using the beach appreciated the work our Jamaican Greenheart Ambassadors were doing. It is our duty to ensure that Jamaica and the rest of the world is clean enough to sustain life on earth, even after our passing. #OneLove #NuhDuttyUpJamaica

JOHDINANN: Hellshire Beach played a major part of my childhood; my family went to the beach every Easter and Christmas. The decision to visit Hellshire Beach made me extremely happy! However, it was a shadow of the beach I remember playing on. The impact of waste and erosion is slowly taking away the beaches we love. Thus, I implore everyone to pick up a bag of trash after enjoying what the beach has to offer. The cleanup was necessary, and it gave me immense pleasure to give back to Jamaica.

It was a shadow of the beach I remember playing on. The impact of waste and erosion is slowly taking away the beaches we love. Thus, I implore everyone to pick up a bag of trash after enjoying what the beach has to offer.

WINSTON: For me, service is always important to help protect our environment and world. Being a part of the change that this world needs just makes me overjoyed. Our Hellshire beach cleanup was the first step in the journey of a thousand miles.

We had quite the time volunteering and giving back to our host community. Service is above self for us as Greenheart Ambassadors. We were reminded by this visit why each of us loves giving back to humanity so much. We will continue to push each other to keep doing good in our various neighborhoods, and we promise to help each other whenever possible.

We would also like to extend some gratitude. We must first extend say thank you to Greenheart International for giving us the platform to work, the opportunity to travel and experience cultural exchange along with the extra courage to continue giving back on both global and local levels. We have acknowledged that being members of this fundamental organization has certainly allowed the importance of volunteerism to manifest even more in our respective lives. Julia’s guidance – especially – as our advisor, mentor and friend is forever appreciated. Additionally, the successful completion of this initiative would not have been possible without assistance from family members, friends and members of the Hellshire community who utilized their hands and hearts to help make Hellshire Beach a healthier place for wildlife and visitors. Finally, to the staff at Hellshire Beach, a special thank you is extended for hosting us so wonderfully.

Volunteer with Your Community!

Join the Greenheart Club