Coleyville SDA nurturing minds
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
Just before the pandemic struck, on any given day, the grounds of the Coleyville Seventh-day Adventist Church would be filled with approximately 70 children who attend its early childhood institution and later in the day, approximately 40 students who attend the evening institute.
These initiatives, according to Pastor Donald Valentine, is to uplift the community through education as part of the church’s ministry to meet the people and their needs.
“We have been heavily involved for decades in educating children through our early childhood institution. The school is about 80 years old and is consistent with our commitment to development and restoring in man the image of God through education.”
He said that the church later started an outreach for adults post-secondary- level education that has now evolved.
“It ran for a number of years with success and then it became defunct. But last year, we started the Jamaica Institute of Technical and Academic training where we provide training in literacy, a range of CSEC subjects and vocational areas backed by HEART Trust in welding, housekeeping, baking, and agriculture, which is soon to come on board.”
With a staff of qualified teachers for both institutions, Valentine said the offering makes a significant difference in the lives of the persons across the division.
“In the area, you have a lot of schools, but after secondary-level education, most of them would have to go to Mandeville, so we saw a need to reach out to a large spread of young people – female and particularly males – and satisfy the needs of the whole man.”
Though the programmes are now online, Valentine said the mandate remains, and they are now looking to expand these programmes through the establishment of a computer lab.
“We got about 15 computers from NCB (National Commercial Bank), but we haven’t been able to put them out because we don’t have any where safe to set up the computer lab. We have dedicated a part of the church’s hall to be used as the computer lab, but we need to make it safe.”
Valentine said the lab will serve the community and students in the areas who need to formally access online classes. “We have students who come to the church to use the Internet when there is supervision, but the lab would add some more structure to it.”
He said that though it costs to run the ministry and some students have not been able to make payments on time, and in some cases, not at all, no student has ever been turned away.
“The school and church ensure that no one is turned away. It’s opportunity and a sacred privilege to help everyone ... . It is more debilitating when you are bereft of support. An education has proven to be one way to optimise human productivity, and we are committed to that,” Valentine said.