National Honour for Transformational Social Worker in St. James

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Jamaica News: Ivel Kerr Mclean has long been having a positive impact in transforming the lives of residents in volatile and vulnerable communities in St. James, through social services.

The affable social worker, who believes serving others is her “calling”, will be awarded a Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service to Community Development, on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 15, a recognition she describes as very gratifying.

“I am very happy about [the award] because when you work, of course, sometimes you should be recognized. So I am very happy about that,” says Mrs. McLean, who has been a social worker for 35 years.

Born in Roehampton, St. James, the mother of three started her career at the Social Development Commission (SDC) in 1983, and has worked as a Community Development Officer and Field Services Manager.

Her stellar work at the agency led to her twice being named Community Development Officer of the Year.

Mrs. McLean describes her years of service as worthwhile, noting that seeing citizens’ lives being transformed through her dedicated efforts has been a great motivation.

“I have [had] a wonderful experience with the Social Development Commission. Sometimes, yes, it makes you [sad] when you see persons suffering and the help they need, you cannot offer it. [But] when you work with the community and you see [it] moving and they [citizens] are empowered, it really motivates me” she explains.

Mrs. McLean was instrumental in establishing a longstanding youth club in Canterbury and a police youth club in Albion Lane, citing these among her most memorable accomplishments.

“One of my most memorable experiences was [with] Albion Lane, a troubled inner-city [community, where] I [was] able to get them to form a youth club. I [however] noticed [thereafter] that the [relationship between] police [was strained]. So I asked the police to let the youth club be [transformed to] a police youth club and I spoke with the young persons in Albion Lane [who] agreed. I [also] spoke to [members of] the Police Community [and Safety] Division, [who were initially apprehensive]. [But] I [told them that they could come in as there would be] no problem,” she recounts.

When asked what has kept her on the job for over three decades, Mrs. McLean says attributes this to the opportunities afforded her to transform lives.

“When I look and see that my labour [has] not [been] in vain and I have seen changes in individuals and in the communities, [those] keep me going. [At] the Social Development Commission, we were like a family,” she tells JIS News.

Mrs. McLean serves as a Justice of the Peace for St. James, and also sits on several Boards and Committees.

These include Board Chair for Cambridge High School, and Roehampton Primary School. Additionally, she is a Board member of the Peace Management Initiative in St. James.

Mrs. McLean says she was taught by her mother to display kindness to others, pointing out that she has been able to do so through social work.

She tells JIS News that the award came as no surprise to her sons, who greatly appreciate her commitment to her work.

“They said ‘mommy… you really deserve it… and we are happy’,” Mrs. McLean states.


Source: JIS News

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