January 04, 2016
BY PENDA HONEYGHAN Observer writer firstname.lastname@example.org
WHILE everybody was busy picking out new ornaments for their Christmas trees or planning what to wear to events during the season, the residents, particularly the members of the External Affairs Committee (EAC) of the new hall of residence at the University of West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, (hall has not received an official name yet) decided that they would enjoy Christmas traditionally this year — by bringing cheer to a group of children in State care.
The group of EAC representatives from the recently constructed hall, which is operated by a private company, had dedicated itself to several similar activities from the start of the September semester — giving back and helping others — topped off their year of activities with a trip to Walker’s Place of Safety in Kingston.
“The Christmas season is about giving back and an important part of this is making sure that our children in State care feel very much a part of this special season. There is no doubt that they understand the meaning of Christmas and we wanted to make sure that they didn’t feel left out,” chairman of the EAC Lauren Mohais said.
The project included handing over essential household items requested by manager of the place of safety, Grace Allen, and the presentation of toys and other gift items that were bought by members of the EAC committee and other residents of the hall, which comprises less than 20 per cent of Jamaican nationals.
An emotional Allen expressed the language of the children’s heart — as they showed their gratitude through hugs, bold thank you messages and bright smiles. “It is good for you (the new hall of residence EAC committee) to be able to come and share with the children and share with the home as well, because what you brought for us we couldn’t afford to buy, so I just want to say thank you and also thanks on behalf of the children,” Allen said.
Director of the new hall of residence, Marrynette Lee, also lauded the effort of the students while acknowledging the pleasure that comes with knowing that the UWI students are thinking of Jamaica’s young minds.
“It is important that the 138 students residing on this hall understand the importance of giving and are cognisant of the fact that our children represent the future Jamaica and we all need to play our part in creating an environment in which they can thrive; our facilities at UWI Mona is testimony of this,” Lee said.
The Walker’s Place of Safety serves as a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12-year olds, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions. The home provides children with proper nutrition and safe shelter, along with access to educational services and health care.