- The Friendship Sports and Community Club is marking 25 years of service to residents of Friendship Lane, Ebony Pen, and surrounding areas in Spanish Town.
- For many young people, including undergraduate student at the G.C. Foster College, Zanasha Hinds, the club has become a second home.
- Marie Dawson was the first President of the Friendship Sports and Community Club, serving for 18 years, and is now an honorary member.
The Friendship Sports and Community Club is marking 25 years of service to residents of Friendship Lane, Ebony Pen, and surrounding areas in Spanish Town.
Since 1991, the non-profit organisation has been empowering youth through engagement in sports and community activities, and providing scholarships for education and training.
Crucial support is also provided to the elderly in accessing services under the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP), the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme, among others.
For many young people, including undergraduate student at the G.C. Foster College, Zanasha Hinds, the club has become a second home.
“It is more like a family to me, rather than a club,” she tells JIS News.
She has been a member of the club since she was in primary school, and is also the beneficiary of a scholarship from the group.
“Friendship sports club has helped me in many ways. They have sent me to high school when I could not afford it. It is a very good club; their arms are open to anyone,” Zanasha adds.
At the time of its establishment, the Friendship Sports and Community Club was comprised of members of the former Friendship Welfare Clubs, which were formed in the 1950s to uplift communities in and around the Friendship Primary School.
The clubs, one for males and another for females, offered similar programmes and at times competed for the same resources. Principal of the Friendship Primary School, Norma Edwards, who was the leader of the female club, saw the wisdom of having one entity, with members united in their efforts.
Marie Dawson was the first President of the Friendship Sports and Community Club, serving for 18 years, and is now an honorary member.
The organisation is strongly focused on community development through sports. Club President, Denese Palmer informs that every year, members participate in international sport events, such as the Miami Classic netball series in the United States, where the opportunity is used to make contact with the diaspora for assistance with development initiatives at home.
Members also benefit from leadership training through the national netball and basketball programmes, as well as coaching and umpire training.
Scholarships are offered to two students of Friendship Primary School on an annual basis, and the club also hosts treats twice yearly for seniors, and raises funds for the Mustard Seed Communities, and Samuel Basic School.
Miss Palmer says that as the club celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, it will be looking to forge new partnerships in order to reach more people.
She says the entity is strong on nation-building and is guided by its pledge ‘to give my mind, spirit, and body to the service of God, and to do that which is best for the upliftment of myself, my club, my community and my island home’.
“It has a rich history in helping persons, that’s the tradition we want to continue because we see the need for development, especially the youth. We can’t leave them out,” she tells JIS News.
.“We are here to serve. The good Master came on earth to serve, and we are just following in His footsteps,” Miss Palmer adds.
The theme of the Friendship Sports and Community Club 25th anniversary is ‘The Silver Milestone. Looking Forward to the Gold’.