Irene McDonald, guardian angel at Clifton Boys’ Home


For approximately 30 years now, the welfare of orphaned kids and boys of unfortunate circumstances at the Clifton Boys’ Home in Darliston, Westmoreland, has been in the capable hands of Irene Roslyn McDonald, the ‘guardian angel’ for countless children for her entire life.
In the initial years of her working life, Mrs. McDonald committed herself to the nurturing and upbringing of a host of pre-school children at the St. John’s Infant School, then as a practising teacher for three years and as principal of the Hopewell Basic School for over seven years.
Her crusade for the welfare of children of unfortunate circumstances took her to the Clifton Boys’ Home, where she worked as Matron for some six years, moving up the ranks to become Acting Superintendent and serving the institution for 13 years.
Her dedicated work made indelible and noticeable impressions on the hearts and minds of persons all over Darliston and surrounding communities, which ushered permanent appointment as Superintendent of the Clifton Boys’ Home in 2000. She is still serving the home in that position.

Superintendent of the Clifton Boys’ Home in Darliston,
Westmoreland, Mrs. Irene Roslyn McDonald (right), is a picture of
concentration as she participated in the Westmoreland Heroes Salute in
Savanna-La-Mar recently.

On National Heroes Day (October 18) 2010, Mrs. McDonald was named among ten ‘local heroes’ showered with accolades and awards by the Westmoreland Heritage Committee, during the parish’s Heroes Salute ceremony.
She was presented with a plaque for her years of outstanding and meritorious service to the parish, in the area of Community Development.
Mrs. McDonald has been ‘mother’ to hundreds of boys who regard the Clifton Boys’ Home as the only ‘true home’ they have ever had, and where they have been nurtured and prepared for life in the real world. Today many have made admirable strides and are currently holding their own in society.
JIS News caught up with past ward at the Boys’ Home, 26-year-old Joseph Campbell, who lived there for over eight years.
He regards Mrs. McDonald as his ‘mother’, and is grateful to her for caring for him and helping to transform his life, so that he could be now be on his own as an accomplished chef, cabinet maker, tiler and trainee architect.
“I spent a long time at Clifton Boys’ Home, and I am thankful for Mrs. McDonald for being there for me, during these difficult years,” he said.
“My mother was not there for me and so growing up Mrs. McDonald taught me how to take care of myself and also how to cook which I really loved doing. After leaving the home I went to live and work in Negril as a chef at a leading restaurant there. I also worked as a tiler, and cabinet maker and presently, I am a trainee architect,” he added.
Mrs. McDonald was born in the quiet district of Lundie, Westmoreland, the seventh of 11 children of her parents, Albert and Adina Daley. Her formal education began at Miss Whittaker’s Infant School and continued at the Holly Hill Elementary School. After graduating from this institution, she registered for private lessons with a renowned teacher in the community, where she was successful in the first and second Jamaica Local Examinations. She went on to sit in the Jamaica School Certificate Examinations where she also very successful, obtaining 11 subjects as well as three additional ones in the General Certificate Examinations (GCE).
Mrs. McDonald’s substantive responsibilities at the Clifton Boys’ Home did not hinder her from giving creditable service to other areas of community life, as she is presently an active member of the St. John’s Anglican Church, serving as Committee representative, choir member, Mothers’ Union member, as well as Sunday School teacher and an active People’s Warden.
She also served as President of the Beaufort and Darliston Primary and Maud McLeod High School’s Parent Teachers’ Associations, and sits on the boards of these and other schools, including Hopewell Early Childhood Institute, St. John’s Infant and Enfield Primary Schools.
Mrs. McDonald has been and still remains a very industrious and determined woman focused and using novel strategies to get her work done, efficiently.
At the Clifton Boys’ Home, located in the hills of Darliston, currently home to some 30 boys aged 6 to 17 years, Superintendent McDonald efficiently utilises approximately seven and a half acres of fertile agricultural lands with various on-going agricultural and livestock projects undertaken by workers, as well as the boys who are able.
“The farming activities here at Clifton Boys’ Home have been making positive and meaningful contributions to the nutritional well-being of our boys, as they supply the home with vegetables, ground provisions and other farm produce, as well as chicken and goat meat, pork and eggs,” she told JIS News.
She expressed great joy and pride in being the recipient of the ‘prestigious’ award for her contributions to community development.
“The years have been truly tiresome, as sometimes I feel as if I want to give up, but because I was convinced that I was doing this as a missionary work, God has given me the strength and the will and the perseverance to go on each day. I am so happy that I have been awarded for my hard work and will continue to serve the boys at Clifton,” Mrs. McDonald told JIS News.

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