Young Jamaican develops 'Smile Day' for schools
A young Jamaican living abroad has thrown her hands and resources into a programme seeking to enrich and enhance Jamaica's future through its most vulnerable group, the youth.
Jamielle Rankine-Kirlew, founder and president of Smile Day, a travelling experience that takes place in primary and basic schools locally, told THE STAR that they are dedicated to improving the lives of children in low-income communities.
Rankine-Kirlew said "Our mission is to improve academics, athletics, and creativity amongst our Jamaican youths, while also providing a lasting impressing through mentorship."
The California-based non-profit organisation provides locally prepared nutritious meals and exposes children to positive methods of expression through dance, music, poetry, drama and opening doors for opportunities.
Rankine-Kirlew, a fashion designer, now resides in California with her husband and son.
She was born in Jamaica and graduated from Immaculate Conception High School.
Rankine-Kirlew told THE STAR that she was compelled to embark on a programme of this nature after losing a childhood friend.
According to Rankine-Kirlew, she also began this non-profit organisation because of her love for children and her belief that children will lead the way to a brighter tomorrow if they are guided positively.
The first school to experience Smile Day was Swallowfield Primary on January 10.
THE STAR gathered that the entire school population of 500 students was served pumpkin soup with chicken feet and vegetables free of cost, and were given toys, school supplies, and reading books.
"It was not announced to the students and was by complete surprise. The entire student body and teachers showed so much interest and gratitude to all the artists from Edna Manley College, both past and present, who showcased their talents through music, dance, and spoken word," Rankine-Kirlew said.
The organisers told our news team that Smile Day will continue to visit primary schools across Jamaica, leaving behind a lasting message of how kindness and selflessness can change lives and, if not that, can leave someone with a smile.
Smile Day has sponsors in California, and is also sponsored by AustroJam in Jamaica. The organisation welcomes other sponsors willing to aid in nurturing youths for a brighter tomorrow.
You can contribute by contacting Rankine-Kirlew via email: