Susan Downing Seeks Donations To Help At-Risk Youth In Jamaica

Native Canadian Susan Downing is taking her good works program all the way to Jamaica this summer. Susan happens to be a woman of many talents, which she draws upon when she mentors and trains her students. The skills she teaches is what makes her programs so unique, and her eclectic training has allowed her to prepare the kids she teaches to face the world in a practical way.

Susan Downing’s Experience:

Susan has a degree in industrial education, including training as an electrician and experience working as a dental assistant. Her training in industrial education was especially helpful when she designed her unique programs for at-risk youth, which she taught during her 30-year career in British Columbia. Her courses also included various crafting lessons, which involved sewing, and was yet another skill she possessed that she was able to impart upon her students.

Susan’s Past Work:

As mentioned above, Susan created and taught various programs during her years as a teacher. Throughout that time, she focused on providing at-risk youth – kids who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks of the educational system – with the skills they would need to make money. She taught her students that they need not wait for others to begin making money. Instead, she taught them a skill or trade, which they could then use to make money the rest of their lives.

“The more skills that you have, the easier it is for you to make money on your own.” – Susan Downing

Susan’s Next Project:

Susan’s next project takes place at Waterford Primary in Jamaica. Her goal is to form a group of about 14 kids whom she will teach and mentor throughout the summer. Ergo, her program would only last two months, May through June. Since her program is somewhat limited due to time constraints, she is aiming to teach the kids a wide-range of marketable skills right away. She has the following to say about her next program, “I’m looking to give them (the students) the skills necessary to help them make their own business and to get some support in terms of how to market whatever it is that they make.”

Why the Program is Necessary:

Unlike Canada, where Susan is from, Jamaica has no welfare system, or government programs to help underprivileged kids. Therefore, when kids do not acquire marketable skills and do not succeed in school, they have trouble simply surviving. That is why her program is so vitally important. These kids, the ones who would have fallen through the cracks, need people like Susan to guide them and train them. She describes her work in Jamaica as, “making the difference for that person between success and abject poverty.”

It just so happens that Henry Ford, famous for his ground-breaking designs in terms of mass production, happens to agree with Susan about this particular issue. He once stated, “If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.”

What Susan Needs to Make her Program a Success:

Susan’s goal while in Waterford will be to teach as many marketable skills as possible in a short amount of time. As a result, her biggest needs are materials for the many projects she hopes to tackle. The following list surmises some of what she will need for her two-month program in Jamaica:

Plain t-shirts, transfer paper, printers: These will be used to teach kids how to print their own designs on t-shirts.

Computers: These would be used for a variety of purposes, but would mostly be utilized for t-shirt designs.

Of course, there are many other materials Susan will need to make her summer program a success. Also, when giving, it is important to ensure that any donated materials make it to Jamaica before May at the very latest.

To learn more about how you can get involved with Susan, you should call: (778) 863-8534, or send an email to

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