- The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has recognised 57 employees for long service and outstanding contribution to the disabled community.
- Recipient of the Most Outstanding Social Worker award was Shereena Thomas Shaw, who has been employed to the Council since 2011. Mrs. Thomas Shaw said she enjoys serving persons with disabilities.
- Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, said her staff stands ready to continue the journey of championing the cause of persons with disabilities with the help of the Disabilities Act passed in Parliament last year.
The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has recognised 57 employees for long service and outstanding contribution to the disabled community.
At the inaugural staff awards luncheon, held at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in Kingston, recently, presentations were made to the most outstanding staff in an employment support programme; most outstanding administrative staff; most outstanding social worker; most outstanding workshop supervisor; most outstanding workshop staff; most outstanding senior staff; and the executive director’s award of excellence.
Recipient of the Most Outstanding Social Worker award was Shereena Thomas Shaw, who has been employed to the Council since 2011. Mrs. Thomas Shaw said she enjoys serving persons with disabilities.
“What I enjoy most is helping these persons to feel like they belong, that someone cares for them and to show them that they too have a place in society. I also want for them to understand that their disability is not a limitation. They have much to offer and they can overcome their situation and excel,” she said.
As the Social Worker for Trelawny and Westmoreland, she has implemented several programmes to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities.
“In Trelawny, we formulated a support group for parents, who are unable to send their children to school. We have equipped them to teach their children,” she shared.
Mrs. Thomas Shaw said there are plans to offer skills training to those parents as a means of preparing them to support their disabled children.
Dawnette Hanson, who was awarded for 27 years of service at the Council’s workshop on Hanover Street, said the recognition was a pleasant surprise.
“The award was unexpected. When I heard my name, I couldn’t believe,” she said. Miss Hanson, who has an intellectual disability, is encouraging other persons with disabilities to use whatever talent they have to improve their lives.
“I am encouraging them not to sit and hide their talent. Do not hide at home but go out and learn a skill, so they can be somebody in society,” she said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Colette Roberts Risden, in her greeting delivered by Chief Technical Director of Social Security, Dione Jennings, commended the employees of JCPD for their service to the disabled community over the years.
“We continue to thank you for your meaningful contributions to persons with disabilities and ultimately to the people of Jamaica. We trust that this simple way of honouring you will express our gratitude for all your efforts and sacrifice over the years,” she said.
Mrs. Roberts Risden noted that there is more work to be done as the Council strives to change the perception of the society towards persons with disabilities.
“We will have to continue to change attitudes. While we know that discrimination against persons with disabilities does exist, we have a fervent hope that in our lifetime we will see major improvements … and a full recognition of their human rights. The society will become more accessible to accommodate physical access and inclusion. It will take time but it will happen,” she added.
Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, said her staff stands ready to continue the journey of championing the cause of persons with disabilities with the help of the Disabilities Act passed in Parliament last year.
“The future for persons with disabilities and the JCPD is bright and we as a staff anticipate the journey with every ounce of energy. Inclusion of persons with disabilities is a national and international imperative, there is no turning back,” she stressed.
Guest speaker and media practitioner Racquel Jones, who has a physical disability, charged the recipients to continue to love and serve others.
“Each person here has a talent, has something to give and was created on purpose for purpose. It does not matter how small you think your contribution is or will be, you are not a mistake floating around. God was purposeful when HHe designed you. We are all called to love and serve,” she urged.
“As you serve, remember that you are making an impact on someone. Everyone is going through something and how you treat that person will make a difference to their day or to their life,” she said.