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Helping others has become her passion

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Dr. Stephanie Young-Azan is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has made giving back her life’s passion. The Jamaican native migrated to the United States in 1979, yet her heart has always remained with the less fortunate in her homeland. It is her passion to “make a change in the world for the better in the time we are here.”

She calls herself “fortunate,” benefiting from her father’s sacrifice. Now Young-Azan’s dream is that “every human being can be afforded the right to an education, healthcare and the dignity of a life without abuse and denigration.”

The idea to start working for charity came from Dr. Patricia Rowe-King, a friend of Young-Azan who in 2006 persuaded her to join a mission team with her church Holy Sacrament. Her first charity event for Jamaica was a tea party of 50 ladies to raise funds to purchase mattresses for the Granville Place of Safety, a home near the town of Falmouth that is home to 90 girls. The event, she said, raised enough money for 60 mattresses that they delivered to the home.

Young-Azan said the mattresses were badly needed because two to three children were sleeping on a twin bed.  Through the “For Jamaica” charity she has serviced 13 orphanages and shelters, which house approximately 300 children. Earlier this year, the fundraiser attracted close to 500 people. With money raised from the fundraiser earlier this year, she “plans to serve seven facilities in the Manchester area later” in 2011.

UPLIFTING

Young-Azan said the first time she went on a mission trip, it was the most uplifting experience of her life. “For me it was one of the few truly faith filled experiences of my life,” she said.  “I was able to give without any agenda.”

Dr. Maria Murray, a friend of Young-Azan, describes her as having the warmest smile and the friendliest eyes. “Classy yet humble and outgoing, especially when it comes to the goals of her non-profit charitable organization,” Murray said. “I have known Dr. Young- Azan for about 20 years; I got to know her quite well as our children attended the same schools.”

Murray said when she first met Azan she was immediately fascinated by her pleasant, easy going personality. “I am impressed by her dedication to solving the problems and addressing the needs of children through her work and through her organization,” Murray said. Young-Azan explaned her mission is to serve through charity. “I am more comfortable in that role than acknowledging the recognition it engenders,” she said.

AWARENESS

However, she appreciates the recognition as it furthers the awareness of the mission, extending the outreach of the charity. Young-Azan said that despite her education, there are still some struggles with being a minority woman in the U.S. “I have had numerous encounters of being assumed to be the supportive staff rather than the doctor,” she said. She recalled that solicitors have come to her home, only to look past her shoulders, asking if the homeowner was available.

Young-Azan thanks her family and friends, calling them her biggest supporters. She said her charity goals “have not been fully realized, but are in the process of being achieved everyday. “Our time is shared with others who for inexplicable reasons are not afforded the opportunities we have,” she said.  “Therefore it is our duty to do what we can to make it a better place for the time we have here.”

For more information on Dr. Young-Azan’s charity, visit www.forjamaica.org. Next year’s event is scheduled for Mar. 17.

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