Sian Green in the Reading Owls Library at Carron Hall Primary School, St. Mary, Eastern Jamaica
Sian Green grew up in the small village of Retirement in the parish of St. Mary, in eastern Jamaica. After training as an educator he worked for the Ministry of Health on an innovative program to address community health issues through counseling and testing. This role allowed him to meet hundreds of everyday people, form deep community relationships and get to know the terrain of Jamaica quite well.
Nowadays, Sian leaves his home each morning at 7:00 am and returns by 8:00 pm. In the hours in between he runs his restaurant, The Blue Skies Ice Cream and Patty Shop, and serves his community through his political work for the area of Saint Mary Central. He spends hours addressing issues like water pressure and road development for the residents of his constituency.
Sian’s strong volunteer ethic led him to say an enthusiastic yes when he was approached by Reading Owls founder, Elaine Dickson to be a local volunteer in Jamaica. “She didn’t have to ask me twice.” he said. “In fact, she didn’t have to ask me once. She just told me what she was trying to do, and I knew I wanted to help.”
So when US based Reading Owls community members are on the island, Sian cheerfully volunteers, using his vast knowledge of Jamaican communities, as driver, guide, community liaison and discreet security. Says Sian in his soft voice, "I enjoy using my strong interpersonal skills and cultural knowledge to interact with administrators and community leaders on Reading Owls' behalf. You have to be a part of the culture; You have to know how to talk to the people.”
Sian’s excitement was never more evident than when he talked about the opening of the Reading Owls Library at Carron Hall in eastern Jamaica. He described the entire process as “an eye opener.” He remembered that the school already had the space, but that the area was not conducive to any kind of quiet pursuits. “She (speaking of Elaine) changed that all around. She made it this beautiful place that brought excitement to the whole school. The children, the teachers, even the auxiliary staff were so excited. Watching her work and watching the impact it made on the community made me want to do more.”
He assures us that the impact continues to this day. Carron Hall is in the district that Sian serves, so he gets over there quite often, ostensibly to provide oversight, but really to remind himself of the importance of this work. “The impact was not only for a day. I visit the school and they are really utilizing the library space; they are also looking after it and keeping it up so beautifully.”
To Reading Owls' donors and US volunteers, Sian says he would like to extend a big thank you. He and his wife have an eight year old daughter, Micah, and he sees for himself how important reading is to her. He is grateful for the many Jamaican communities that will benefit from the efforts of this organization. We are grateful for his big heart and his willingness to serve. With great pleasure we return his big thank you!