Sometimes our past calls us back to it so that we might make a difference in the lives of the future generations who walk the same path we once walked. I grew up in Jamaica West Indies, and went to school at the Carmel Primary School. I can recall going to school each day; and my breakfast was a piece of yam or dumpling from the previous nights dinner, heated on wood fire. My hot drink was either hot cow's or goat's milk and other times heated cane juice my father made with his wooden mill. I lost my mother when I was 13 and the Carmel Primary School became my refuge and nurtured me through this loss. I was one of the lucky ones, at 15 I went to sit for the Jamaica Local exams and I finished school and moved to the U.S. in 1985 to continue pursuing my dreams.
Through the years, my home has always been in my heart, and in 2012 when I visited my old school- my heart sank to see that many of the students arrive to school hungry each day. They sit through morning classes with their stomachs growling, unable to concentrate and fully integrate what is being taught because their bodies need that morning nourishment. I felt deeply guided to making sure that these students were nourished, I knew that this was one difference I could make, and I told Principal Vendolyn Richards that I would do whatever I could to make sure that every child would be able to begin the day nourished 5 days a week before school.
These children are in such a critical time for their cognitive development. The body and brain need nourishment every day. And if a child's brain never developed fully because it didn't get the nutrients it needed early in life, the effects of hunger-related delays will remain for the rest of their lives. This is an opportunity to literally nourish the growing minds and bodies of the next generations. Give them a chance to reach their fullest potential.
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