Rural Express: Rollicking good time for Cedar Valley children
Jolyn Bryan, Gleaner Writer
Scores of children in Cedar Valley, St Thomas, had a rollicking good time at the eagerly anticipated fun day and Christmas treat last Saturday. The annual event, in its fourth staging, was conceptualised by Shelleann Davis, a St Thomas native who rallied her family and friends to give back to her childhood community. Hosted at the Cedar Valley police station in the community square, the children were treated to a bounce-a-bout, rides and ring games, along with snacks, ice cream and several prizes. Parents who accompanied their children were also treated to mannish water and lunch.
Davis told Rural Xpress that the impetus behind the treat was an urgent need to give back to the community.
"About four years ago, a thought came to me that I should really be giving back something. It was because, at the end of the year, we got a bonus and I was thinking of persons who were less fortunate," she said.
Davis said she did not get the response she had expected and the project fell through, but the thought stayed with her.
sponsorshiP and money
"The following year I decided I was going to do it, whether or not I had the support, so I gathered some friends and family members who were intrigued by the idea. I was working in St Thomas, so I formed relationships with the business community and several of them came on board with whatever they had, basically chipping in to make this thing possible," she told Rural Xpress.
Along with sponsorship, money generated from a fundraising cake sale that was very well supported, and contributions from her own pocket, Davis was able to raise sufficient funds that gave the children of Cedar Valley a memorable day. Business sponsors included Nu Era Furnishings, Morant Bay Petcom, Classic Suprette, and other small businesses in and around Morant Bay.
Hazel Taffe, a resident of the community, was full of praises for Davis' efforts: "It's very good what she's doing. We have a smaller turn out this year, but the children and parents really appreciate it," she said.
Davis ended the day playing Santa's little helper, as children lined up eagerly for toys from a large bag of goodies, from toy planes to Barbie dolls.
"It makes me feel happy to know that I can do this for people who may not be able to do it for themselves," Davis said. "I think this is my purpose, to give back, to enrich the community and the lives of others."