Sun | May 28, 2017

Adventist youth volunteers impact Manchester communities in Jamaica

Published:Monday | March 2, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Nurse Mary Williams (right) prepares O-SAY volunteer Heron of Linstead, St. Catherine to give his unit of blood during the O-SAY community outreach at the Greenvale Community Centre in Manchester.

More than 2,000 Seventh-day Adventist youth took to the streets in central Jamaica to share the love of Jesus during a district-wide campaign in several communities in Manchester last week.

The projects were organised through Operation Save A Youth (O-SAY), an initiative of the Adventist Church Central Region, to mobilise young people to volunteer and help others in their communities and inspire at-risk youth in the parishes of Clarendon, St Catherine and Manchester.

"We organise these projects in an effort to save our youth and inspire a sense of volunteerism in them," said Pastor Greg Baldeo, youth director for the church in central Jamaica.

According to data provided by the Planning Institute of Jamaica in the 2013 Economic and Social Survey, out of more than 35,700 people who were arrested and charged in 2012, 135 boys and seven girls between the ages of 12 and 15 were charged with serious crimes, while 900 young men and 31 young women between the ages of 16 and 20 were also arrested and charged for serious crimes.

"The hundreds of young people who are out today are on fire for God, and they want to go out and help others. We have to keep that fire burning in them through the various projects we that have planned," the pastor further said.

The day's activities involved 19 projects ranging from a health fair, repairs to potholes and construction, as well as beautification.

At the Greenvale Community Centre, which was the base for the project, more than 30 units of blood were donated by young people. The centre was also host to a team of doctors and nurses, and more than 130 individuals received free check-ups, including pap smear and eye tests. The walls of the centre also received a paint facelift.