By Leneka Rhoden | IG: @LenekaRhoden
When Dr. Rene Williamson, the Executive Chairman of Shashamane Sunrise, reached out to me about joining his organization, I was ecstatic. What stood out to me about Shash was its unique model school concept, which it had developed and implemented to improve the learning outcomes of its students.
My appointment as the first Shashamane Sunrise Youth Ambassador was a tremendous achievement. I’ve had the opportunity to represent the foundation at momentous occasions, such as the National Baptist Basic School Graduation, where I had the honor of giving the commencement speech.
On my first visit to the Windsor Forrest Primary School in June of 2016, I was introduced to a young lady who attends Titchfield High School—she was my first assigned mentee. She has aspirations of becoming a world-renowned journalist, and she shared the impact that Shashamane has had on her life. Her story is living testament to the work of Shashamane Sunrise.
There are many foundations that get off to a great start, but few manage to sustain the energy and maintain meaningful relationships the way Shashamane Sunrise does. Shashamane continues to play an integral role in the schools they work with, and more importantly, in the lives of the students they serve. Although the main focus of the foundation is to help students in developing countries to get access to quality education by providing schools with classroom and mentorship resources, I have seen the ways in which Shashamane changes the lives of its volunteers. They grow and evolve into an amazing, selfless people.
Shashamane Sunrise has definitely left its mark on the globe. The work we do in Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Africa will continue to change the trajectories of so many children touch the lives of many volunteers, teachers and community members. Shashamane Sunrise has proven that a pencil can go a long way.
Leneka Rhoden is a second-year Experimental Biology student at University of the West Indies, Miss Humanity Jamaica 2017, and a Shash Youth Ambassador.