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Rochester Jamaican Organization to Hold 10th Annual Independence Gala

By Staff


rjo gala_2016_posterRochester Jamaican Organization Inc. will hold its 10th Annual Independence Gala and Fundraiser Friday, July 22, at 6 p.m, in the downtown Rochester Holiday Inn, at 70 State St.

RJO will hold the event in celebration of Jamaica’s 54th year of independence, and the program will feature a keynote speech by Jamaican U.N. Ambassador Courtenay Rattray; music by Ignite reggae band; a silent auction; and a presentation of community awards.

Tickets are $65 for individuals, and $600 for a table of 10.

In addition, Suzette Williams, founder of the Oral Roberts Youth Café at the West Avenue United Methodist Church, will receive the group’s 2016 Community Service award this year.

Williams’ program meets every Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and, according to RJO, the church cafe offers a safe haven for teens, as an alternative to involvement in potentially unsafe practices on city streets.

“Youth Café offers not only a safe haven, but an opportunity to learn and grow as a young adult, to network, and fellowship with community leaders, and educators,” officials from the organization stated. “The children participate in academic, social and interpersonal activities to encourage self-esteem, self-growth, conflict resolution, prayer, and religious education.

According to RJO, the group will also make a charitable contribution to the “Theodora Project,” a youth outreach program the United Church of Negril founded in 2004, in an effort to combat human-trafficking in the area of Negril, in Western Jamaica.

“The expanding tourist industry of Jamaica is a ‘double edged sword,” RJO officials stated. “On one hand, it has resulted in economic stability in some sectors; but on the other, it has resulted in increased human and drug trafficking, and other social problems, fueled by growing poverty in other sectors. Young people become victims of this early in life. RJO and the church communities believe educational success equips young people with skills that enable them to make healthier choices.”

RJO’s Independence Celebration will also include an “Independence Church Service,” July 24, at Genesee Baptist Church, 149 Brooks Ave.

Visit for additional information regarding the events.

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