Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) Valentine’s Day Listing – JaMIN, Choose Life & Love Changes Life

The mood in the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s Listing Room on February 14 was filled with reminiscing, love, and excitement, especially by the representatives from the three projects being listed, JaMIN Music Entrepreneurship, Choose Life International and Love Changes Life (Stop the Violence). The evocative mood was even taken to another level when Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director JSE, received a red rose. Dr. Street Forrest stated that she was just as excited as everyone about this event because it provides the opportunity for the social projects that are now being funded by the social donors through the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JJSE) to now get their projects on the way. “This is not merely about getting projects on the way, it is about the transformative effect that we know will accrue from the activities that are planned which will strengthen the recipients, the social sector and Jamaica, land we Love,” emphasized Dr Street Forrest. 

Dr. Street Forrest told the audience, “I am pleased that our appeal has not gone unnoticed and the Telethon which was staged between December 16 -18, successfully raised awareness of the work of the JSSE and brought in significant funding. Through these efforts, we are here today to list the JAMIN project from the Agency of Inner-City Renewal (AIR); the Shalom Mental Health Project by Choose Life; and Stop the Violence Project by Praise Jamaica Foundation.”

In closing, Dr. Street Forrest made an appeal to the audience, both in person and online, “Let us continue to use our time, talent and treasures to move the social sector positively forward, as through our efforts, small or large, we will make a difference to uplifting our fellow human being and the social and economic fabric of our country.”

Dr. Donovan Thomas, founder of Choose Life International, one of the three projects that were listed, in his reply on behalf of the projects, stated that, “These are life changing and saving projects. Love Changes Life – is aimed at stopping violence in schools”. He said, “ when students are killing each other while others look on without intervening, it’s a cause for concern; when students attack teachers, it’s a cause for concern and when parents attack teachers, it’s a cause for concern, and it is programmes like Love Changes Life that are providing the support and counseling to prevent and ultimately stop violence in schools.”

He further reminded that the other project JaMIN Music Entrepreneurship – this project is based in Trench Town, known as the home of reggae music. JaMIN uses training in music positively to develop life skills and develop talent in young men especially in the inner city so they can earn an honest living and contribute to the development of the global reggae music.

Finally he spoke of  Choose Life International ‘SHALOM’ the third project to be listed – This project focuses on mental health. Dr. Thomas, who is the founder and active in the field, shared a recent experience with the audience of a high school student who committed suicide. He provided counselling and he asked the class of 37 students how many of them ever considered suicide, 17 students showed hands. He noted that mental health challenges escalated during the pandemic and not enough support was given for various reasons, namely inadequate funding, limited human resources and lack of awareness to identify when there is an issue.  In closing, Dr. Thomas, thanked the donors and the JSE’s team for this life-saving initiative of a Social Stock Exchange.     

The insertion of the strips on the listing was done by the three principals, Dr. Henley Morgan for JaMIN, Dr. Donald Rodd for Love Changes Life (Stop the Violence) and Dr. Donovan Thomas for Choose Life International (SHALOM).

Miss Charmaine Brimm, JSSE’s Director and Chairperson, Selection and Listing Committee, presented the JSSE’s Rule Books to the principals.

Professor Neville Ying, Chairman JSSE, in his brief remarks thanked the donors, the JSE for conceptualizing the JSSE and, finally the project principals for their stewardship and commitment to developing those who now lead so that their lives can be better.

Dr. Thalia Lyn, OD, JSSE’s Ambassador, gave the closing remarks, thanked the donors and stated, “Today we are celebrating funds being put into action.” She further stated that as Chair of the NCB Foundation, her “Grant A Wish” in December donated to the JaMIN project, but when she realized there were two other great projects, she encouraged NCB Capital Markets, Island Grill Foundation and the Lyn family to pool funds and make donations to Love Changes Life and Choose Life International. Dr Lyn continues to encourage other companies in Jamaica to donate to change and save lives.