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JIS News

Some 170 children from several inner-city schools in Kingston and St. Catherine were on Thursday (Nov. 20) treated to a day of fun and excitement at the Serenity Park wildlife sanctuary in Old Harbour.
The annual treat was organized by the National Child Month Committee in observance of Universal Children’s Day. The day is designated by the United Nations (UN) as an occasion to encourage worldwide fraternity and understanding among children, while promoting the ideals and objectives of the UN charter, and the welfare of children worldwide.
Chairman of the National Child Month Committee, Dr. Pauline Mullings, told JIS News that the treat, now in its 25th year, was primarily aimed at “bringing some joy and affection to children, taking them out of their inner-city environment and exposing them to some of the natural pleasures of the island.”
“Every year, we gather a different set of children to help them to get exposed to the little things they normally are not exposed to and being here at Serenity Park, is certainly one of those places,” she stated.
The children were drawn from schools in the Windward Road community and from Spanish Town.
Dr. Mullings said that while “for some of the children, the trip might just be a fun day out, for others it will have a lasting impact and this is where we are heading. We want to change lives.”
Committee member and one of the organizers of the children’s treat, Dawn Watson, explained that the idea for the Serenity Park trip was both for fun and a learning experience.
“They are seeing plants and animals some have never seen before like the llama, the parrots, ducks. They might have seen them on the television but have never seen them in real life or in their natural habitat,” she pointed.
She said that “what is important is the impact that this simple exposure will have on the child, in terms of opening up their minds to a whole new beginning.”