Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Head boys, girls give back to JA

Published:Sunday | July 29, 2018 | 12:05 AMLatara Boodie
Rodrick Chance (left) and Yvonne Grant, coordinator of Open Arms.
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Open Arms Centre
Presentation of donations.
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Earlier this year, the head boys and girls of some of the most prestigious high schools in Jamaica joined forces to implement change within their communities.

After weeks of planning, they orchestrated the first Kingston Head Boys and Girls Service Project.

"This is the type of nation building and social accountability that our student leaders are interested in cultivating," said Danielle Mullings, head girl of Campion College and UNESCO youth volunteer.

Participating schools involved Campion College, Camperdown High School, Ardenne High School, St George's College, Immaculate Conception High School, St Hugh's High School, Mona High School, St Andrew High For Girls, and the Convent of Mercy Academy 'Alpha'.

Apart from initiating change within their communities, the initiative created an avenue for student leaders to come together as a united force. The service became a partnership between corporate Jamaica, NGOs, schools, and student leaders.

"We must thank the Open Arms family for sharing their life experience with us. We have received tremendous joy from being able to entertain, provide food and care packages," said Mullings.

In speaking with Open Arms coordinator Yvonne Grant, she expressed her gratitude towards the head boys and girls, for coming to the Open Arms Shelter. The mission statement of the shelter is "to eliminate chronic homelessness by the power of love in action".

They also aim "to rehabilitate in order to integrate" while "teaching employable skills" to residents and the less fortunate. The shelter has provided skills training for the residents as a part of the rehabilitation effort. It has also put many residents through university at UWI and UTech. The Open Arms Shelter is currently trying to build a residential facility for women, as it currently only caters for males. As such, donations of furniture, mattresses, printers, computers, filing cabinets, and appliances are welcome.

"Our sponsors were beyond supportive and offered their very best," said Mullings.

GraceKennedy gave cases of Aloe Vera Juice, while Tastee Cheese partnered with Maxfield Bakery to provide bun and cheese for the event. Sugar and Spice donated a cake, while LoriCakes donated a cake decorated with the Open Arms Logo. Delicious patties were served by Juici Patties and mouth-watering desserts were offered by C.R.A.V.E.

Special thanks is given to the Campion College Alumni Association, who assisted in securing sponsorship for the service, and HEART Trust/NTA, who provided a skills and career counselling presentation.

"This is just the beginning, I have shared the idea of a collaborative service between the head boys and girls with heads in Montego Bay and Portland. Going forward, we hope this can be an annual collaboration," said Mullings.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com