UWI PROChangers Gives us a Cause to ‘CARE’

In a society where social issues such as mental health, crime and corruption are often overlooked, PROChangers JA and the University of the West Indies, Mona Guild Army of God have brought these issues to the centerstage. Last Wednesday (January 18), they hosted the third CARE benefit show at the Philip Sherlock Centre For The Creative Arts, showcasing the impact the performing arts can have on bringing about positive social change.

CARE, which stands for Creating Awareness Through Revolutionary Entertainment, is a non-profit foundation created by ProChangers JA founder and current UWI Guild President, Mikiela Gonzales. Gonzales said the idea for this initiative was born out of wanting a space where social issues that affect lives daily could be highlighted rather than celebrated as a calendared event.

Audience in the jam-packed theatre were treated to performances by the University Drama Society, University Pop Society, University Dance Society, Arabesk Dance Collection, D’Crew and others. Each performance depicted a different issue such as mental health, human trafficking, domestic violence, autism awareness, pediatric cancer awareness, corruption, youth and crime and schooling vs education.

The performances were followed by speakers from the Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network, UWI Model United Nations, Women’s Inc, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Angels of Love and main sponsor, National Integrity Action.

“I'm a lover of the performing arts and so I fully appreciated, even before this campaign, what power it (performing arts) has to impact on the emotions of an audience,” Gonzales said. Forward thinking in her approach to this campaign, she said she is expecting an increased growth in the coming years.

“I intend for the campaign to grow to the extent of one day being at Little Theatre with even more organizations and the Government taking interest in the initiative as I believe it is not only innovative but more importantly, effective,” Gonzales said.

Net proceeds from the event will go towards the Guild’s Hope Project which provides tutoring to students from surrounding communities.

“The EAC (External Affairs Chairman) for this year, Patrenia Williams intends to use the money to print exam papers for the students in helping them prepare as well as to have another fundraiser in hopes to send on the students to sixth form,” Gonzales said.

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