July 25, 2017 | Jamaica Information Service |
Second generation Diaspora member, Donika Jones, is using volunteerism to spread the Jamaican culture in Canada.
Born in Ontario, Canada, to Jamaican parents, Miss Jones, who is a health promotion specialist, credits her passion for volunteerism to her Jamaican parents.
“Their Jamaican identity has always been paramount and that laid the foundation for me. They have always worked and given back to their communities and that for me sparked the interest,” she said.
An Executive Board Member and former Communications Chair of the Jamaican Diaspora in Canada Foundation Future Leaders Chapter, Miss Jones annually leads events during Black History Month where there are demonstrations of Jamaican cuisine and film festivals.
“The children and other community members have been very open and receptive to the Jamaican culture, especially the food, such as jerked chicken and festival,” she said.
She also volunteers at the Qayuqtuvik Society Iqaluit Soup Kitchen, music festivals and works with the youth and children’s ministries of the Praise Cathedral Worship Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
Miss Jones said she wishes to contribute to the development of Jamaica’s health sector, more specifically public health and the social factors that impact it.
“There are social determinants that impact our health. It is not just about our body but things like housing, employment, levels of education, maternal and child health. All these factors come into play and intersect and position us in ways that allow us to have a certain quality of health,” she argued.
She added that her dream is for Jamaica to have “universal and equitable access to free health care, because health care is a right and not a privilege.”
A recipient of the Governor-General’s Achievement Diaspora Award, Miss Jones said she is even now more compelled to continue serving and encouraging other young people to play their part.
“Every young person that I interact with, I instill that it is important to give back wherever you are because we are in a position where we are always taking information or resources. It is important because that is how we continue to grow, how nations are forged and how we advance as a people,” she said.