Thanksgiving

I would like to thank everyone that has donated to Project Winter Camp Jamaica 2015. Last year was a blast and this year it is going to happen again, with your help.  The project has raised over $3,000.00 so far which will go a long way in paying for certain key aspects of the camp. We have also launched a gofundme.com campaign that we hope will help to defray some of the remaining operational costs.

Also, on the good news front, our shipment of equipment has arrived in Jamaica and awaiting clearance by the proper authorities.  I would like to thank JN Foundation for their work on the Jamaica side for us.  We truly appreciate their efforts to help make this happen.


People who are the change

Westmoreland schools benefit from free eye clinic

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer
Thursday, November 12, 2015

 

FROME, Westmoreland – Junior Campbell, an eight-year-old Grade 3 student at the Mount Airy Primary School in Westmoreland, has been finding it difficult to read for quite some time.

His grandmother, Louise Lewis, says whenever he attempts to read, his eyes become watery.

“He just keeps on winking them, winking them and rubbing them,” said the concerned grandmother, who contemplated taking the youngster to an optician.

But, thanks to the Rotary Club of Negril, in association with Cornerstone Jamaica and Mission of Sight project, called ‘See Better, Learn Better,” Junior will by the end of this month be able to access eyewear free of cost, following a recent screening exercise at his school.

During the exercise involving the use of specialised equipment branded Vision Screener, some 150 students of the Mount Airy Primary and Infant School were identified as needing treatment for their eyes. They were later transported by bus to the Mission of Sight Centre in Frome, where they were attended to by a team of eye specialists.

Team member Dr Doug McCloy, a registered optometrist who has been practising in the island for the past 20 years, said Junior has a condition called hyperopia.

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is said to be a common vision problem. People with hyperopia can see distant objects very well, but have difficulty focusing on objects that are up close, as they appear blurry.

“He (Junior) is one of those that might not be cared for necessarily in a normal environment, but he is a little more farsighted than what you would normally expect for a child of his age,” revealed Dr McCloy.

“When you really look into it, he (Junior) is having to work extra hard to see things clearly, especially up close. So, we prescribed for him a low- powered magnifying type lens for reading that will help him to get rid of his watery eyes and paining eyes, when he is reading.”

Among the other cases seen by the team were keratoconus, a degenerative condition characterised by conical protrusion of the cornea, and astigmatism, an optical defect in which vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to create a sharp focused image on the retina.

Ken Cooney of the Rotary Club of Negril told the Jamaica Observer West that under the initiative, each child in need will receive a free pair of glasses.

“Each child got a full eye examination. They also got fitted for glasses, and we were able to give them a reasonable choice. Those glasses will be made for them brand new in America, and then brought back, and those children who need glasses will have their glasses in about three weeks’ time,” explained Cooney.

Lewis, in the meantime, is very appreciative of the initiative.

“Yes, I appreciate it. Because it saves some money in my pocket, and later down I can come back here with him for treatment,” said the appreciative grandmother.

President of the Rotary Club of Negril, Elaine Allen-Bradley, said students of the Sheffield All-Age School, also in Westmoreland, have also recently benefited under the initiative.

She added that plans are also afoot to undertake the project in other schools in the Negril area, emphasising that “the aim of the Rotary Club is to expand the programme in other schools within western Jamaica next year.”


Thank You

Last Wednesday I received a few donation from a friend of mine who sold her friend and family on giving their backing to projectwintercampjamaica.  She got her friend and family out to help with making Project winter camp Jamaica a possibility the second time around.  Her family came on board as soon as they heard about the camp and the motivation in making it happen.  Her dad set up an equipment drive where people from their town donated slightly used  soccer cleats, and other equipment for the campers in Jamaica.  Her Mom scurry the stores looking for bargain purchases of shorts and t-shirts for the camper.  I want to thank them with all my heart and i am using this medium to express on behalf of all the coaches who are penned in for this second camp.  Thank you.  Thank you.


My debt to the beautiful game

As the date to camp draws closer i get more excited and a little nervous with this undertaking. I am more than honored and overwhelm that so many people is helping me to accomplish a dream that a few years ago seemed almost impossible. However, last year’s venture into the unknown has proven that nothing tried nothing gained is aptly suited. I want to acknowledge everybody who has given me the emotional bolster to carry on with this project. These people are sprinkle throughout the my life in many different spheres but all with the same mindset-helping people.

This second camp venture is a testament to the level of trust everyone involve has placed in me. From my friends/contacts in Jamaica to friends here in the states. I have long held that i would give anything to go back home to Jamaica and give back to this beautiful island what it has given me. When I left in 93′ I did not have the slightest notion that i would be giving back to my island home. I like many Jamaica in the diaspora dream of the glam and glitter that goes with the American Dream. The dream that I will make it big and and go back a yard and splash out and hand out tings from foreign.

The beautiful game humbled me many times over, in my yearnings to making it in broadcasting and not just making it but making it big. The plan was to go back and set up a media company in Jamaica was in my master plan. My earliest journeys here in the states took me on a bunch of roundabout routes before i got back on track with soccer…

last year I gave a short speech to the players at East portal about not giving up and giving in to the now was well received. After my remarks I was ask many questions about making it here in the states and i tried to be as honest with my answers as possible. My answers for the most part to gel to what they had previously heard from countless other expatriates. I insisted on them that it was not too late to get a college education-and once in college you have to work hard everyday to remain in college…I felt honored to tell them my story, or some aspect of it to the boys, and men who were in the audience.

So this trip i am hoping to speak with my more young people, young women and men included. This is why everyday i get up I am thankful. I owe so much to this beautiful game–


A little up and down year

The above title sums up the year so far for me. I have met many great friends and have reconnected with a few old friends. The ups in my title is very high and downs are very low but as a wise man once told me “It is not how many times you’ve been knocked down , It is how many time you get back up on your feet” the quote is not correct in a lot a sense…almost nonsense to me me it makes sense…anyway, we are gearing up to repeat what we did last year with little and nothing but the belief in making things happen. A lot of encouragement from friends and family members proved to be the caffeine jolt I needed to give me the drive to follow through on something. Now we are fast approaching the date for the second time around. We are hoping that this one will be a little bigger than the last one in more ways than one.

We will have very hectic days in Jamaica but at end of it all ..it is the satisfying feeling that we did it…the last day of camp was the biggest testament of the work, and belief that went into making things happened. I had some of the most dedicated coaches in my corner and i am happy that we were a part of a great team..

Believing is seeing!


Countdown to Camp

Dear Friends and Supporters of Youth Soccer,
As a parent, coach and former semi-professional soccer player I have seen how positive soccer can be in the lives of children and I am writing to ask that you consider making a tax-deductible contribution to “Project Winter Camp Jamaica” – a small-scale, grassroots project now in its second year.
Thank you all for making last year’s camp a success as we were able to bring the joy of soccer and the power of learning academic skills to over 150 children and young adults during the winter break camp we held in December 2014. This year we are returning with ten volunteer Chicago-area coaches to East Portmore, and Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland in Jamaica. Both in Jamaica and in Chicago I have been amazed at the people who have recruited their friends and families to get behind and support the project’s success. Your generosity made a lot of dreams come true and have made a huge difference in the lives of many children.
Our vision is to utilize the knowledge base of established coaches and other professionals to teach the beautiful game while serving as mentors to foster positive character development. Programming revolves around soccer, fitness and health but stresses core values such as teamwork, leadership and commitment in order to create lasting change in the community. I am an NSCAA-certified and a Master Soccer Coach with America SCORES Chicago where I work with at-risk youth and provide coaching education to over 100 coaches a year. I grew up in Jamaica and then came to the US on a soccer scholarship to play at Huntington College. I have worked in broadcasting, both in production and sales, but am fortunate to now be able to work fulltime on my passion and I want to take what I have learned back to my home town.
Last year we did the camp on a shoestring budget which covered the coaches’ accommodation and local transportation. For December 2015 we are gearing up to taking on three camps in a short eight day span. The biggest impetus of the camp this year is to get more Jamaican girls involved in soccer. I never played soccer with females growing up as it was looked upon as a man’s sport. My experience here in the States has opened my eyes up to look upon youth sports through a different lens. I have seen that given the same opportunity girls play just as well as the boys in any given sport on a level playing field. This year we aim for Project Winter Camp Jamaica to have an equal distribution of girls in relation to boys.
I have recruited a talented and dedicated team of 10 volunteer coaches from diverse backgrounds with an array of skill sets to implement and support this year’s winter camp. We will have an even number of female coaches who have played soccer at the college and club level here in the States, with the idea that this will help to provide good female role models for young girls to encourage them to play and continue to play the beautiful game.

As we did last year we also train Jamaican coaches and tie in health and wellness along with some leadership training for the youths that assist us during camp. We will be working in the Greater Portmore, St, Catherine, and then in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland. These two communities are areas of Jamaica where neighborhoods are critically under-resourced and chronically under-served, leading to an environment that lacks models for success for youth and a void in safe, out of school time activities. The lack of soccer equipment and dedicated adult role models and coaches has been a constant hurdle and hardship for the community at large. Many of the local youth do not have the financial means to play soccer (they can’t afford the basic necessities of boots and a ball), and thus have resorted to adopting alternative lifestyles for answers – such as joining gangs or adding to the high rate of crime that plagues Jamaica as a whole. All of this makes the soccer coaching and life-skills mentoring of Project Winter Camp Jamaica extremely important.
We have already received numerous donations for the 2015 camp. Thanks to the generosity of one donor we will have camp T-shirt for every participant. Hunt 4 Soccer is back on board with the donation of 300 soccer balls. The Sports Shed has also put their support behind the project with donations of over 300 shirts and shorts combine and other equipment. All of the volunteer coaches will cover the costs of their own airfare. However, I still need to raise $6,000 to make Project Winter Camp Jamaica a success.
The funds raised for this project will be used for to ship soccer equipment and supplies, for local transportation and to provide accommodation, as well as meals for the volunteer and local coaches.

A small 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The Village Project Inc, will be serving as the fiscal sponsor for Project Winter Camp Jamaica. The Village Project Inc. has run numerous programs for youth and teachers overseas and, as in 2014, is providing administrative support to Project Winter Camp Jamaica at no cost. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made via Paypal to https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JGD3FWEUKZ6JC or may be sent to 2029 W.Morse Ave, Chicago IL 60645 You can also visit our blog at https://projectwintercampjamaica.wordpress.com/ and also our Face book page.
Please don’t hesitate to call me with any further questions or concerns regarding this initiative.
Kindest Regards,
Dean Lothian


Thank You

To all my friends and family who are willing to go beyond the call to make this camp a success.  i am more than appreciative of their efforts.  They are the ones behind this project with your positive vibes and practical approaches and ideas that are put into motion that is keeping this project afloat.

As i told a friend, last night  about a very isolated reason why i am doing this for the children in Jamaica.  Things and signs are everywhere: i saw a soccer ball laying in a pool of water in one of the places I frequent for work, as i went inside to talk over some logistics about our upcoming season.  i was inside more than 30 mins when i received a call from one of our schools, that their supply of soccer balls weren’t delivered and the kids have no balls for practice.  The supervisor called me knowing that I always have a lots of soccer balls in my car.  However, for once I did not because i had just left a supply at another school.  We troubleshooted on the phone about how best to make sure that the kids have at least a ball for scrimmaging.   i then remembered the ball I passed on my way in…needless to say i ran out and looked and there it was still laying in the pool of water.  I looked around to make sure that it wasn’t some kid’s ball and then i fished it out and took it to the school where the kids were so happy to get it.  Firstly, you would never come upon a soccer ball unaccompanied in Jamaica.  Soccer balls are like gold nuggets so everywhere you see a ball you see a soccer game in play.

Thank you  friends


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