As their reign comes to an end, the 2019/20 Civil Servants of the Year now feel an even greater sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to give back to those in need in tangible ways, through their community outreach projects.
The phenomenal trio of Acting Director for the Research, Print and Production Division at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Celia Lindsay; Customer Service Officer, Administrator General’s Department (AGD), Sophia Levy; and Acting Records Officer, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, Ministry of National Security, Candice Henry, came together as a team to deliver on two outreach projects, instead of the usual single project.
With the partnership of First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited (FHC), which provided $150,000 towards the venture, the team outfitted a room to serve as a main dining area for female wards of the State residing at the Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill, St. Andrew.
This project included painting and furnishing the room with seven tables and 43 chairs and providing tablecloths and plastic covers, and valances for the windows. The girls and their caregivers were also presented with gift bags. The team officially handed over these items during a ceremony at the home on Thursday, July 30.
In addition to the FHC, the awardees received assistance from Carlissa Enterprises Limited and the Kingston Seventh-day Baptist Church, the JIS, AGD, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Security, family and friends for this project.
Manager at the Homestead Place of Safety, Sellean Barracks, expressed appreciation for the new dining space that the girls are now happy to call their own.
“We’re excited, because this is a project that we have been working on, and for the team of ladies and First Heritage to come on board to provide this for us, we are tremendously grateful,” Ms. Barracks said.
The Civil Servants of the Year selected the Homestead Place of Safety as one of their two projects, because of the need identified and the lasting impact the intervention would have on the beneficiaries.
Mrs. Levy, who has been with the AGD since 1987, shared that the group chose this particular project “because we thought that spending some time with the young ladies and assisting them where their needs were greatest would have been quite appropriate”.
“We are happy that we were able to serve our country as Civil Servants of the Year in this manner,” she told JIS News.
Ms. Lindsay, whose career in the public service has spanned 20 years, noted that the team successfully executing this project was “a fitting example of what happens when people collaborate to build bridges… . A lasting difference has been made”.
Ms. Henry, who has been serving the JDF since 2012, said the group was pleased to have been in a position to positively impact the lives of others, noting that “as civil servants, we are forever indebted to the public service for affording us the opportunity to be of service to our fellowmen”.
The civil servants, along with several partners, also collaborated to provide well-needed equipment and items for the National Baptist Basic School on Greenwich Street in Kingston.
On Thursday, September 29, Caribbean Flavours and Fragrances Limited, in partnership with the Civil Servants of the Year, issued the initial donation of hand sanitisers and a desktop computer to the Arnett Gardens-based Basic School. The issuance of the hand sanitisers, worth approximately $200,000, began in September and will continue each week until the end of December 2020.
The team also handed over a cheque of $50,000 from Sagicor Life Insurance Company for the purchase of desks and chairs. Other donations included a printer, educational items from the AGD, and heritage publications from the JIS.
Principal of the National Baptist Basic School, Pauline Davis, said she was grateful for the donations made to the school, especially in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I want to thank everyone for being a part of this, who took time out during the pandemic to really think about us. I’m humbled when persons can take time out, especially during the strange times we’re living in, because I know it (the pandemic) has affected everybody,” she said.
Through these two relevant and impactful projects, the three women, who have served the country for a combined period of over 50 years, demonstrated the passion and diligence with which they continue to carry out their duties.
For Ms. Henry, who began her tenure at the JDF as an office attendant, the experience was especially meaningful, noting that her reign as one of the 2019 Civil Servants of the Year was “a journey of new opportunities, new growth and new possibilities”.
“I was able to surpass what I thought was my limit and perform my duties effectively and with pride, yet [I am] humbled by the experience. I got the opportunity to be a philanthropist in my own right by working with my fellow recipients on two community projects,” she said.
The Civil Servants of the Year are selected annually by the Civil Service Week (CSW) Steering Committee in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, with sponsorship from the FHC.
Civil Service Week for 2020 is being celebrated from Sunday, November 15 to Saturday, November 21.
For the 2019 staging, the awards were revamped to increase the number of Civil Servant of the Year awardees to three, up from one for the previous 15 stagings.
Ms. Lindsay topped the field of entrants in the category of Management; Mrs. Levy copped the award in the Middle Management category; and Ms. Henry won in the Technical Support category.
In addition to the money received from the FHC for a joint community project, each recipient received a plaque, citation and a cash prize of $200,000.