Shamar Wilson is a standout student-athlete at Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut and an accomplished member of the school’s golf team with a goal of going pro. But that goal almost became a pipe dream…until a non-profit stepped up to help.
Wilson, a college sophomore who is also pursuing a business marketing degree, was named AMC Spotlight Player of the Week in his first year of college, placed second in the Mitchell Invite, and achieved the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Week four weeks in a row. The 25-year-old also competed during the Hoerman Cup in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Golf Championship and the Jamaican Open.
However, Wilson’s future goals almost came to a standstill at the end of his fall semester last year. The tuition sponsorship that the college student, who is from Jamaica, was receiving could no longer be provided, and it left him in limbo without a means to finance his education. As an international student, Wilson is not eligible for financial aid or federal loans to cover college costs such as tuition, meals, room, and board.
That’s when a local New Haven-based non-profit, The Jamaican American Connection, Inc (JAC), stepped in to help. The organization started a fundraising campaign online so that Wilson could achieve his dream of graduating from college and excelling on the golf course.
“What I realized was if he went back to Jamaica, then all his dreams would basically be over for him to become a pro golfer. The difference between the haves and the have-nots is opportunity, and he had the opportunity. We could not allow him to lose this opportunity, so we decided to jump in feet first, and here we are,” JAC President Karaine Holness shares with ESSENCE.
The online fundraiser has a goal of $50,000, which Holness says will be directly sent to Wilson’s student account at the college. As of this writing, the non-profit began fundraising in January and has reached $17,455.00. These funds have ensured that he can attend school this semester. However, there’s still quite a way to get the goal needed.
In a statement shared with ESSENCE, Wilson expressed his gratitude for the assistance that he is receiving. “I’m really grateful for the opportunities this school has given me and for the support of the community and my family. I hope to keep pushing and working hard to reach my goals, but I need a little help from those who believe in me and my ability to succeed. I believe with the community’s help, I’ll be able to complete my education and make a positive impact on the world, especially this community and my native Jamaica,” Wilson said.
JAC will host an inaugural scholarship golf tournament to further its fundraising efforts in June. “Golf is his gift, and as a community, we had to support him,” says Holness. “The blessing of all of this is that now we can have an annual golf tournament. All this money that we’d be raising after we finished paying and he has graduated and everything, we will now be able to raise money to help any student that comes here from the Caribbean on a student visa,” she added.