Jennifer Dennis was born in a small district in St. Elizabeth called Prosper Schoolfield in Jamacia. During her adolescent years, she had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with her grandmother, Lurline Strachan (otherwise known as Sister Lue).
While growing up, Sister Lue – a strong community pillar- taught Jennifer critical skills such as discipline, resourcefulness, business acumen and the importance of having a sense of humour. These skills serve Jennifer to this day.
The lessons did not stop there. Her mother, an exceptional seamstress, would bring Jennifer along to help her sell her mothers hand made clothes throughout the community and adjoining districts thereby helping Jennifer establish an understanding of the importance of building relationships within the community.
While living in Jamaica, Jennifer continued to partake in activities that helped her discover her passion for professionalism and supporting her community. She studied commerce at Kingston Commercial College in Kingston Jamaica and she worked as a sales associate for a furniture store. Both activities allowed her to learn excellent communication skills and supporting the community.
In 1969, Jennifer migrated to Canada from Jamaica by being sponsored by her late Aunt, Doris. While in Canada, she continued her education at the High School of Commerce and Algonquin College. She even continued her education during the 35 years that she worked for the federal government of Canada. All this hard work helped her to develop her ability to work and communicate in French.
After her retirement, Jennifer’s passion for professionalism and helping the community didn’t stop there. She worked as a sales associate for the Hudson Bay Store and also as a commissionaire for the federal government.
Since arriving in Canada, Jennifer has been volunteering and continues to do so to this day.
Jennifer has been volunteering for the Jamaican Ottawa Community Association for many years taking on activities positions such as secretary, vice president, committee chair, treasurer and working with seniors. In recognition of this support, the association has granted her a lifetime membership. She has also volunteered for the Institute for the Blind.
She is currently a member of the Gloucester Presbyterian Church where, for 4 years, she had taken care of babies in the nursery and still continues to carry out other duties assigned to her. She was recently recognized by the Ontario Multicultural Department for all of her volunteer work in the community.
With the impact of the pandemic, Jennifer and a few others realized that there was a need to bring people together safely. They have recently formed the Ottawa Social Village which is a group that connects virtually every two weeks. This activity enables the community to stay connected safely, to discuss various topics and to have fun.
Jennifer continues to live a fulfilling life through her volunteer activities, spending time with her family and through her other personal interests such as gardening.