November 27, 2020

Community coordinator says farewell

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Zemrie Thompson

After 26 years as a public servant, the time has come to say goodbye. Community Development Co-ordinator Zemrie Thompson, MBE announced her retirement from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), effective 1 January 2012.

Having worked with the Department of Immigration, the Department of Education and DCFS, the retiree paid her dues to Government and the people of the Cayman Islands.

While many were asleep at night, Ms. Thompson spent hours brainstorming and creating programmes that would improve individuals and the communities they live in.

In the past four years, Ms. Thompson headed various projects. In 2008, she created the SET For Life afterschool programme. SET — Socialising Education and Training — aims to help children complete homework and enhance their learning abilities. The initiative also offers hands-on training for various vocational fields.

During this time, she also formed computer classes for seniors, arranged private sponsorship for students who were in need of school supplies and lunch, and led the Second Chance Programme which aims to help troubled children turn their lives around.

One of her joys has been working with elderly people. She is a member of the Older Persons International Committee and began a Senior Retreat in 2002 which is now an annual event.

Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP, said, “Ms. Thompson is an outstanding public servant who consistently provided an invaluable service to the people of the Cayman Islands”.

Despite her work schedule, Ms. Thompson managed to find time to organize weddings, officiating as Minister and creating invitations and other decorations. She also helps out with Vocational Bible Studies at Agape Church and plays a role in community groups, particularly the Scranton community.

She recently returned from a mission trip to Jamaica. Having first organized sponsorship, Ms. Thompson carried donations to the needy. The long serving Coordinator said, “Personal satisfaction and praise is not about the recognition and awards, it’s about the reward you get from helping others.”

DCFS Acting Director Alicia (Jen) Dixon said, “I thank Ms. Thompson for her outstanding contribution to the department and to our community. Her years of tireless dedication and community leadership have made her the ideal example for others to follow. She is going to be deeply missed. We wish her all the best for the future!”

Following retirement, Ms. Thompson intends to continue to be a devoted mother, an active Minister of her church, a philanthropist and role model. “It has been a wonderful journey to serve the Cayman Islands Government and although I look forward to retirement, I leave with joy and a source of great pride,” she said.

“I am confident knowing that DCFS has a strong and positive future as it continues to deliver remarkable service to children and families in our community,” Ms. Thompson added. “Thanks to all the people who have contributed to community development which helped make my job easier. Also, I will forever be grateful for the support of my fellow staff members as their encouragement contributed to my level of commitment.”

Ms. Thompson is excited about retirement, planning at least a year of ‘me time’. She wants to travel, and she wants to write a novel titled May Surely Will Come, sharing her experiences to help others overcome some of the same obstacles.

She has set a goal to resume working on a Master’s Degree and then obtain a PhD in Theology, and she would like to create her very own outreach programme for young persons, especially those who deserve another chance at success.

But first, to begin her retirement, she is looking forward to a quiet tea party with her grandchildren sometime in February.

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