“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” is how Monique Abigail Frances describes her motto for overcoming challenges as a single mother.
Her statement reflects the tenacious spirit and high academic success that earned Frances status as the recipient of the Mission Possible scholarship awarded by the Jamaica Alumnae Chapter (JAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
The award pays for her college tuition to complete her bachelor’s degree at the University of the West
Indies Open Campus (UWIOC).
Frances, a 27-year-old Psychology major, applied for the scholarship that raised US$10,000 from the organisation’s members located across the globe.
The Mission Possible scholarship is the brainchild of JAC President Jewel Daniels Radford, who said: “The goal is to help relieve mothers of the financial hardship one faces when pursuing an education and raising a child as a single parent.”
She credits retired UWIOC Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Lutz Longsworth for supporting the idea and who shared: “This is an exciting and innovative partnership that will grow from strength to strength because of our mutually shared objectives.”
Longsworth passed the banner to Dr Francis Severin, who carried it forward.
Frances was presented with the honour at the Jamaica Alumnae Chapter’s biennial Sisterhood Retreat that gathered several of its donating members along with Emmy Award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph who gave a virtual opening address due to receiving Jamaica’s highest honour during Heroes weekend.
JAC’s work throughout the island has gained the support of Ambassador Brian Wallace, permanent representative of Jamaica to the United Nations, who was the keynote speaker for the awards banquet.
This is the first year JAC has extended this award with plans to renew the offering in two years.
Frances shared: “I will use my experience to encourage young women to believe that help and support is available to them. Help is available without demeaning your morals and risking yourself. I am elated to share my journey and I hope that it will cause other single mothers or at-risk women in need, to use initiative, persistence, and faith to bring them through life. My goal is to continue to serve my Jamaica through volunteerism and to one day be a part of the amazing sisterhood of DST.”
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc was founded in 1913 by 22 women on the campus of Howard University who became leaders of their time by participating in the women’s suffrage movement. The organisation stands at over 300,000 members who actively engaged in a five-point programmatic thrust that includes Economic Development, Educational Development, International Awareness & Involvement, Physical and M Mental Health, and Political Awareness.
JAC CHARTERED IN 2004
Members are college-educated women who have a passion for sisterhood, scholarship, service, and social action.
The Jamaica Alumnae Chapter was chartered in 2004 by 11 Jamaican women with a legacy that has grown to include 18 members who are a beautiful mix of Jamaica-born sorors accented by those with Jamaican roots and Americans who have come to love and live in the country.
JAC provides support through its programmes and financial assistance to organisations that include Eve for Life, Mary’s Child, the Montego Bay Home for Girls, and Woman Inc.
In 2023, JAC will work with Cedella Marley on a project for Read Across Jamaica Day.