About The Jahmeyka Project
The Jahmeyka Project is a non-profit organization run by licensed social workers and funded solely by donations, seeking to directly benefit social services and communities in Jamaica.
The Jahmeyka Project's origins began twenty years ago when Dr. Leslie Yaffa went to Jamaica as a Master’s of Social Work student. She became a college professor and created a graduate-level course that offered students an international social work experience focused on community engagement in Jamaica. After 5 years of visiting multiple agencies, providing community service to selected agencies, and experiencing the Jamaican social service culture, it was clear to Dr. Yaffa that the work, partnerships, and connections to the communities had to go beyond the classroom.
Today, the Jahmeyka Project utilizes a service-learning and educational approach to integrate with our partnerships in Jamaica. We build on critical and reflective thinking, community service, partnership responsibility, and inclusion. Through knowledge mobilization and partnerships, we are continuing to build a non-profit that will be open to all helping professions in future years who want to engage in professional training, workshops, field placements (into Jamaican organizations), outreach, and research in Jamaica.
Beyond our work on the ground, The Jahmeyka Project supports organizations in the Kingston, Jamaica area who have identified needs in their communities for goods such as school supplies and hygiene products. We also donate funds to agencies for their operating costs that are deemed to be most in need-based upon our application process.
To enhance community partnerships through a collaborative knowledge exchange as an ally with social services in Jamaica.
To foster inclusion of social services through education alongside helping professionals by engaging in mutual partnerships and communities in the Caribbean.
Not only can I clearly see the impact we are making on these communities, I can't describe how deeply working with our partners has impacted me both personally and professionally.
- Judith Barrett
Jahmeyka Project board
Dr. Leslie Yaffa
EdD, MSW, RSW
Dr. Yaffa is a founder of the Jahmeyka Project. She is an educator in the field of social work, and has developed clinical counselling programs. Her work includes initiation of innovative and strategic responses to social programs, preparation of needs assessments, community engagement, mentoring, clinical supervision, crisis intervention, and teaching in social services.
Dana has been a board member with the Jahmeyka Project since August 2020. She is a Licensed Social Worker and Discharge planner at a hospital in northeast Ohio. Dana is a member of the Social Media and Branding committee and is excited to learn more about Jamaica and being a part of the board!
Kim is a new member to the Jahmeyka Project board and will be focusing on developing the grants process. She is a Registered Social Worker in British Columbia, Canada and received her Bachelor's of Social Work in Australia, where she was born. Her expertise is working with people with physical and cognitive (dis)abilities.
Judy is a social worker and therapist specializing in trauma-informed care and play-based counseling with children and adolescents. She has been with the Jahmeyka Project since its inception and works directly with local community partners to coordinate partnerships and assess needs and collaboration opportunities.
Elise Joy Allan
BA Int'l Studies & Anthropology
Elise Joy leads fundraising on the Jahmeyka Project team. She manages a team of data analytics strategy specialists at Mixpanel in Spain. She is knowledgeable in project management, international development, cross-cultural communication, and social justice.