Founder's Story

In this story, Maureen Wright-Evans, Founder/CEO of Jamaica Volunteer Programs, shares how the organization got started and changed her life forever. Here’s her story in her own words.

The Gift that keeps on Giving: A Gift that Changed my Life!

My mother was a housekeeper/cook who worked in villas just outside of the resort town of Port Antonio in Jamaica. However, we were poor and could not afford supervision for me, her only daughter. But my mother did not want me to be a teen mother like herself –her greatest fear– so after school each day, she would hide me in the staff quarters at her place of work. Unbeknownst to my mom, I would wander on the beach and talk to tourists about my beautiful island, Jamaica.

One day I met a couple from Windsor, Canada, and started describing some of the scenic spots they could visit. They were so impressed with my love for my country that they wanted to adopt me. But my mother did not want to give me up, and so instead, they offered to sponsor me through high school.

They gave me the best education and opened up a new world to me, of which I am forever grateful. 

Sadly, when I turned 16 years old, my mother passed away. At this time, the same couple who had financed my early education decided to continue supporting me straight through college. 

That, for me, was a significant gift of giving – and one I have never forgotten. It became the foundation of my purpose in giving back to people, communities, and society. And, in 2001, it became the foundation of my business. 

When you come to Jamaica and volunteer through our organization, you could offer a life-changing experience to a little boy or girl like me – whether you are volunteering, building skills with an internship or studying abroad.


Join us at Jamaica Volunteer Programs and gain the very best “Real Life” education while immersing in new, authentic culture and adventure. You, too, could have a story that changes your life forever.

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