Ome Jamal clearly values the community she lives in. It’s evident in all the projects she has undertaken to help Scarborough residents through the years.
“Service in the community has always been a big part as I was growing up,” says Jamal, lead associate-owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart in the Ravine Park Plaza. “As a young child I was involved in many areas within our community to help the need. Now, caring for the community comes fairly naturally to me.”
Jamal moved to Scarborough from Tanzania graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Pharmacy. She has been giving back to the community for many years now by participating in various fundraisers, educational programs, and working with many health-care professionals.
Jamal says her sense of responsibility to the community comes from her father who instilled it in her from a very young age.
“He has constantly coached us to give back to the community in whichever ways that are possible.”
Jamal has worked with local schools like Sir Oliver Mowat and Medix by coaching and training various secondary and post-secondary students to “better pursue their careers.” She has also worked with students studying to be Pharmacists with the help of her extensive knowledge in the industry.
Jamal has also been involved in helping seniors in the Scarborough community in activities such as “Alzheimer Coffee Break” where she invited patients dealing with Alzheimer’s and their families for one-on-one information sessions which covered various challenges and support options for disease victims. The event included a fundraiser that helped raise money to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Jamal also organized The Heart of a Woman, a community presentation at West Rouge Valley Community Centre that was open to all senior citizens in the area.
“The presentation focused on basic lifestyle training thereby helping to improve their health,” Jamal says. “Healthy diet and hands-on simple exercises were one of the few techniques that were discussed.”
Jamal also volunteered at The Home Instead Senior Care by providing seniors with non-medical assistance to help them cope with daily activities that are not easy for them to handle.
“This enabled our seniors to gain confidence and become more independent. At the same time it makes the life of their families easier.”
One of Jamal’s biggest contributions to the community has been her involvement with mothers-to-be at the Rouge Valley Health System. Just over a year ago, she got a chance to visit the newly built Birthing and Newborn Centre at the hospital. She says the facilities and the caregivers inspired her.
“At this time my thoughts went towards ‘How can we make a difference in the lives of new mothers-to-be?’ As a community, we have certain obligations towards a new life … we have to be able to provide support and education to child-bearing mothers.”
Jamal helped propose a plan to her peers at work to help mothers during their pregnancies. She planned to raise funds within the community to help this centre so that it would be able to provide support for new parents and that RVHS staff could conduct proper pre-natal classes.
“Most of us view pregnancy as the happiest time in a woman’s life not realizing that this can also be a time of fear, confusion and stress.”
The long list of Jamal’s projects includes supporting diabetes organizations, working with new immigrants, as well as providing support for the mentally or physically challenged.
“Scarborough is a beautiful city with plenty to explore. We have a great community where people care for each other, work well together in many public sectors and businesses,” she says. “I can’t find a better place that gives me the warmth and sense of belonging than the community of Scarborough.”