Ja’nice Wisdom, Executive Director and Founder of Read Across Jamaica Foundation, has put her passion into building and branding Read Across Jamaica and its Literacy Initiative.
Ms. Wisdom, a community activist, is responsible for introducing the literacy initiative concept to the Jamaica Teachers Association in 2003 as a research paper while studying at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). There she served as Chair of the University Of Maryland Student Teachers Chapter. In the United States, Ja’nice’s work organizing national Reading Circles for Read Across America celebrations has expanded to local Caribbean American communities, elementary schools and libraries projects.
Ms. Wisdom is a strong leader in her community—intelligent, astute and very passionate on issues related to children and literacy. She has worked for the National Education Association in Washington, DC, where she administered membership outreach initiatives, the ICF Child Welfare Services Division in McLean, Virginia, and the Securities Exchange Commission in Washington, DC, coordinating leadership training programs.
Ja’nice Wisdom is a second-generation Jamaican with strong ties to the Tomlinson-Rowe family in Siloah, St. Elizabeth. Just like her active relatives, Dr. Una Clarke and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, her concern for others runs deep. Her passion for life will leave a lasting legacy for the children of America, Jamaica, and the international community. Ms. Wisdom is the daughter of a US Air Force Veteran and devout Christian, the late Deacon Willie Morgan. She grew up in Sacramento, California, and attended Foothill Farms Senior High School.
Ms. Wisdom’s ties to her community include Poetry Ministry, Girls In Action Missions, Academic Tutoring and Toastmasters. She has created partnerships with business and corporate industries to gain support for local initiatives and effectively launched the Caribbean American Heritage Month Festival in Prince George’s County, Maryland, from 2011-2013. Ms. Wisdom now resides in Sacramento, California, where she continues to lead missions to Jamaica to celebrate Read Across Jamaica Day during Education Week and increase support for education in various Caribbean communities across the state.
Ms. Wisdom has been a member of the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organization Inc. (NAJASO) since 2008. She has served as the executive secretary of the National Association for three consecutive terms, a senior member of NAJASO’s Education Committee, and coordinator of NAJASO Reads Initiative. As a result of her dedication and hard work, NAJASO awarded her the 2011 National Distinguished Service Award and the 2012 National President’s Award for her service to the organization in the field of education, and she received the Bob Marley Community Service Award in 2010.
Read Across Jamaica and the NAJASO Reads Initiative has made a significant impact on children as it places special emphasis on combating illiteracy and ensuring access to much needed resources in disadvantaged communities in the US and the Caribbean. Ms. Wisdom continues to forge collaborations with the Jamaica Library Service and the Ministry of Education in its efforts to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn and grow to love reading.
Sister Adris Morgan
Founding Board Member
Sister Adris Morgan was born in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, where she attended Thornton All Age School and worshipped at Siloah Anglican Church. At the age of 18, she migrated to London, England where she received her nursing education and Certificate from St. Benedict’s School of Nursing. Sister Morgan received her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of San Francisco (USF) in California and while at USF, taught nursing midwifery. Sister Morgan has served the greater Sacramento community as an RN, staff nurse, and nurse supervisor throughout her career. She is certified as a nurse specialist in psychiatric nursing—an additional certification she received while attending school at New Jersey’s Rutgers University.
After 40 years of nursing, Sister Morgan retired from hospital nursing and joined the American Red Cross Disaster Team. In this capacity, she was deployed across the United States and Jamaica to assist with natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ivan, state-wide floods and, recently, the wild fires in Washington State. Sister Morgan’s commitment to New Testament Baptist Church includes her service as deaconess, chairperson for the membership committee, co-director to the Chosen Vessels (teen mentoring program), and co-founder of the Nurses Guild.
She is a mother of three beautiful young women who walk in her footsteps.
Dr. Julius Garvey
Ex Officio Member
Julius W. Garvey, M.D., FACS, FRCS, FICS, FACPh, FACCWS, is a board-certified surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases. He is an attending surgeon on the staff of Long Island Jewish Medical Center and was formerly Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Queens Hospital Center. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Garvey has published several papers on the subject of thoracic and vascular diseases in many peer review journals.
As a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases, Dr. Garvey has spoken, taught and presented results at conferences across the country and internationally.
Dr. Garvey has served on the boards of various organizations such as the Board of Education of people of African Ancestry, The Zumbi Foundation, The Brotherhood, the Marcus Garvey Committee International, Inc., the Read Across Jamaica Foundation, the International Network of Appropriate Technology and is a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute.
Over the years, he has worked in conjunction with the various Ministries and the University of the West Indies, on issues concerning the education of the Jamaica youth, the building of schools, the transfer of books and medical supplies and a medical student exchange program.
He has also worked with the Department of Corrections in New York State concerning the rehabilitation of members of the prison population.
He has but a school in Jamaica and a school and medical clinic in Senegal, rehabilitated the mausoleum of Kwame Nkrumah in Nkfroful, Ghana, where he has been enstooled as Nana Kwesi III the Safohene.
He has planted 50,000 trees in Northern Ghana and has visited South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Senegal on a variety of missions.
He has recently been named Goodwill Ambassador for Senegal by President Wade.
Dr. Garvey has been on relief missions to Haiti post earthquake and works closely with the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad.
Born in England to Jamaican parents, Dionne grew up in Canada and later moved to the U.S. where she attended law school. Dionne writes fiction that features Caribbean characters or that is set in the Caribbean. Her debut novel, Somerset Grove, was inspired by the many stories of the Caribbean people she grew up with while living in Winnipeg. The Jamaica Gleaner describesSomerset Grove as “an authentic novel that oozes with existentialism and the vicissitudes that fate throws our way.” The Jamaica Observer recognized her work as “part of an emerging genre of writing by Jamaicans in this society,” and BET.com featured Somerset Grove on its “You Gotta Have It” list for January 2015.
When she isn’t writing, Dionne loves to read stories that explore another time, place and culture. As an attorney, Dionne has represented Fortune 500 companies, recording artists, and has served as chief legal counsel for a local government agency with a $105 million operating budget. She has also served as President of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and the Center for Communication and Development (89.9 KMOJ Radio).
Dionne is a Literacy Ambassador for the Read Across Jamaica Foundation and currently practices law in Washington, D.C. She is working on her next novel.
In a genre where women are seldom singled out for recognition, Natasha Whyte, born in Toronto, Canada, to Jamaican parents, and who is professionally known as Tasha T, continues to show why she is unstoppable in receiving unprecedented recognition as a multi-award winning artist. Tasha T’s hard work on the Reggae circuit has been paying off in many ways, earning her the respected name the “Musical Messenger” as she quickly moves towards her next level of excellence.
Nominated for the second time for “Best Reggae Recording” at the distinguished JUNO Awards, Tasha T was the only woman in the category (Hamilton, Canada, March 2015). In 2015 she was also nominated for the “Best International Indigenous Release” for her Real Talk Album, making her the first ever Reggae artist in the history at the Indigenous Music Awards (Winnipeg, Canada) to be nominated and invited to perform at their awards show that resulted in forging stronger ties between Reggae music in Canada and the indigenous community.
Tasha T is a songwriter, producer, record label owner, artist consultant, and Reggae philanthropist. For the past three years, she has served as the official Musical Ambassador for the Read Across Jamaica Foundation, travelling throughout Jamaica on a mission to encourage and motivate young children to thrive through reading. Tasha is currently delving into the arena of spoken word and most recently, internationally recognized Canadian musical conductor Boris Brott invited Tasha T to be a narrator and to perform along with his orchestra at the Brott Music Education Concert for the Children in Hamilton, Canada (November 2015).
Tasha T is tribute to female fortitude and drive as she shares her optimistic vision of life and all its possibilities.