A day in history - 'Beauty with a Purpose'
Jody-Anne Lawrence, Lifestyle Reporter
Miss Jamaica World 2014 'Beauty with a Purpose' and Miss Jamaica World 2014 Laurie-Ann Chin, are making Jamaican history with the first model autistic classroom facility at the McCam Child Care and Development Centre.
According to Chin, "This will not only be beneficial in assisting children with mild, moderate and severe autism, but also help their support groups. There will be two classrooms and a sensory room which will serve as a training facility, which will provide an opportunity for the teachers to increase their knowledge as well as allow parents to have a better understanding of autism," she explained.
Chin noted that she was proud to be working with McCam on this venture and thanked Herzog International and Ashtrom Building Systems Limited for their donation of building the facility by Christmas 2014.
This venture is also a personal one for Chin, who has an autistic cousin, which gives her first-hand knowledge of the illness.
In his brief remarks, member of parliament for the Constituency of Eastern St Andrew André Hylton said, "Miss Jamaica, as you draw from life, it is good to give back to it, and you are doing so." The fact that the facility will be in his constituency is an added bonus for him.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton, said, "Something like this, I felt like I needed to support. This is not business but a personal appearance that I had to make. Very often, we speak about the negative, but we need to show that we do appreciate the special needs and compliment Pauline Watson Campbell for her vision. I can imagine it was not an easy struggle as it is something slightly out of the box," noted the minister. He also expressed his approval of Chin, "After speaking to her, I am impressed with her poise and real interest in learning."
The occasion was a very proud one for patron of the centre custos of St Andrew, Marigold Harding. Harding has witnessed all that the institution has accomplished since its inception in 1986 by Pauline Watson Campbell who, saw the need for an institution that not only would help children with special needs, but have them integrated with children in their own age group that would allow them to function well in the outside world.
For Watson Campbell, it was a very special moment. She noted that when she left MICO Care Centre to start McCam, it was something that many thought would not work as it would cost too much to run and maintain. That was 20 years ago.
The event concluded with the official groundbreaking which had Hylton showing off his skills with the pickaxe and Chin proving that she was a 'girlie girl' who could shovel some dirt.