Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What An Evening of the Word! - PRSJ IABC Christmas Networking Event

What An Evening of the Word!

What do you get when you have adults folding paper planes, a rhyming medical doctor and dedicated caregivers of special children in one place? A wonderfully eclectic evening of the word!

The Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) and International Association of Business Communicators' (IABC) joint Christmas networking event was a feast, not only of edible delicacies prepared by the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, but also of the Jamaican and English languages.

IABC President, Monique Morrison Allen
 The December 17 event was billed as an opportunity for business communicators in Jamaica to pledge professional time to organisations that serve the needs of special children. Three organisations delivered presentations, pitching their case for PR help.

The evening's programme was guided by renown author, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, who took the audience on a journey of memories of playtime in Jamaica, which aptly supported the theme of children's needs. Making presentations to the practitioners were the Jamaica Downs Syndrome Foundation, the Adonijah Group of Schools for Special Children and the Early Stimulation Programme of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation was scheduled to participate, but a family emergency has delayed Ms Chung's presentation for another time.
Director of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security's
Early Stimulation Programme, Antonica Gunter Gayle
speaks of the work of Early Stimulation Plus special school

Standout presenter for the evening, the dynamic Director of the Early Stimulation Programme, Mrs Antonica Gunter Gayle, introduced three of her children and parents as products of the exceptional work that the programme provides for children who have practically no other option for their education. The three children are students of the Early Stimulation Plus special school, an entity within the Early Stimulation Programme. The two girls and a boy, all of whom have severe neurological conditions, captivated the hearts of the audience with their charm and vivacity. Mrs Gunter Gayle expounded with pride how the school is helping children, who would not have been able to achieve their potential in the regular school system. She notes that her team of special educators can achieve more if they had more more appropriate educational materials and if they could expand the physical facilities and put in additional classrooms and a better playground. The school has a long waiting list as it an affordable option for parents with special needs children. The IABC and PRSJ are already making an impact on Early Stimulation Plus as books collected at the Christmas 2009 event were donated to the school earlier this year. PR Practitioner, Lystra Sharpe, through the Caribbean Cement Company, championed a donation of building materials to the school which is located near to the plant in Bournemouth Gardens, as a part of that company's Labour Day 2010 projects. 
Poet, Dr Michael Abrahams,
 delivers his message

 Poet and comedian, Dr Michael Abrahams, delivered a belly full of laughs with his words. The author of the popular recording, Year In Review,delighted the audience with Review 2010. He also delivered his wry observances of how the Bible-based doctrines of the pious get mercilessly bashed in houses of worship that are not their own. His booking for the event was portentous, as he shared his own challenges as the parent of two children with special needs and the overwhelming joy of witnessing each of their accomplishments.

Ms Hutchinson kept the audience rolling especially when she challenged four practitioners in the audience: Gwyneth Davidson, Christopher Benjamin, Neville Graham and Lorna Clarke to search their memories and fold a paper plane and make it travel a distance. The audience roared with laughter to see the  poorly executed models plummet at various angles to the ground. Lorna Clarke tried to pull a fast one by actually sprinting, plane in hand, to her destination, only to be roundly chastised and disqualified. All events were taken in good fun by the PR professionals who were only too relieved to take time off for a good laugh and well-needed camaraderie.

Joan Andrea Hutchinson instructs the would-be paper aviators
Christopher Benjamin, Lorna Clarke,
Neville Graham and Gwyneth Davidson.
No plane reached its destination
Vybz Expressions provided background music and public address for the event which was organised by newly installed President of the IABC, Monique Morrison Allen, along with PRSJ President, Delmares White and members of their respective executive teams.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tribute Page to the late John Maxwell, Journalist


Described as a gladiator journalist by his peers in the press, the late John Maxwell also helped to shape the writing skills of a whole generation of public relations practitioners.

We public relations practitioners remember him as an inspirational teacher who used his considerable intellect to bring students into the light of knowledge. A sartorial presence, he used the platform of the academy as well as his pen to share his passion for issues that he cared about. John Maxwell was an encyclopedia of Jamaican and Caribbean contemporary life.

John Maxwell taught Public Relations students at the Caribbean Institute for Media and Communications (CARIMAC) and also facilitated several PRSJ professional training workshops. John Maxwell graciously served as a publications and writing judge for the Society's annual Awards of Excellence for several years. The PRSJ is proud to recall that he was honoured by the Society for his lifetime achievements at one such awards ceremony.
The PRSJ extends its condolences to his wife, journalist and teacher Marjan deBruin and John Maxwell's other family members.

Comments to this page are welcome or persons may send direct tributes via email to prsj2009@gmail.com