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All they want for Christmas ...

Published:Monday | December 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Shanoya Williams (left), a grade-10 student at Ewarton High School, and Karlene Leon, one of the institution's grade-nine supervisors, interact with the children at Strathmore Gardens Children's Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine, during a visit to the home last Thursday. photo Karen Sudu

Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer

SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:

FOR THE children of Strathmore Gardens Children's Home in Spanish Town, St Catherine, it doesn't matter if they get ham, chicken or turkey for Christmas dinner, what they want are the items on their wish lists.

"What I want for Christmas is a MP3 or a Walkman stereo because I want to listen music, because I love music," 18-year-old Mary, who has been at the home for the past seven years, shared with The Gleaner.

Four-year-old Kiki exclaimed: "Mi want a dolly, miss," as she ran off to play with her friend.

John, nine, and Mark, seven, were playing with two small old cars, so they wanted them to be replaced with bigger new ones, yo-yos and water guns.

Susan is reserved and enjoys her own company. For the 14-year-old, an iPad would be a great companion.

Seven-year-old Janet, who aspires to become a teacher, wants to be at the top of her class, so her priority is to ensure that she has everything in place for back to school in January.

"I want school things. I want books, pencil, rubber, sharpener, school bag, shoes and socks," she listed.

Personal hygiene first

While 10-year-old Nancy doesn't mind getting a doll, she believes personal hygiene is an important part of her life, so her wish list reads "perfume, lotion, roll-on because I want to smell nice".

Kiki's wish soon came true, as a bus with students and teachers from Ewarton High School pulled up at the gate. It was the second straight year that the school was visiting the home at Christmas time. They brought bags of goodies, toys, clothes and toiletries.

"We embarked on this project last year to give the grade-nine students an insight as to what happens to other children who are not as privileged as they are," Florence Lindo, one of the grade-nine supervisors at the institution, told The Gleaner.

She added: "We want to help them to understand how privileged they are and not to abuse their privilege because a lot of them take for granted the things that parents and teachers do for them, and we also want them to learn to care for the less fortunate."

Moesha Mills was overcome with joy, as she helped to hand out the toys to some of the 34 children at the home.

Overcome with joy

Shanoya Williams, the only grade-10 student in the group, was even more overwhelmed.

"I came last year when I was in grade nine and although I'm in grade 10, I never wanted to miss coming again because I really love to see the children's faces when we give them the gifts," she told The Gleaner.

As Joy Barrett, administrative assistant, and other members of staff watched with gratified smiles, they remained optimistic that not only the children's dream would become a reality, but the home's as well.

"We are happy for the visits from the various groups at Christmas time and we are hoping that this kind of love and care will continue throughout the year because we need assistance to set up a computer lab and a library, and we could also do with some more beds," Barrett told The Gleaner.