JIS News

The National Child Month Committee (NCMC) has officially launched its poster and essay competitions. The competitions are the first in a series of activities being organised for Child Month 2006 in May, to educate the public about the needs of children. The theme for the month is, ‘Restore the Family: Save our Children’.
Speaking at the JIS weekly ‘Think Tank’ today (February 1), Dr. Pauline Mullings, Chairperson of the NCMC, said that there was a need to organise such activities in order to restore values in the society and to sensitise the public about the impact of society’s ills on children.
“The nation’s children have lost their values. Why? The answer is simple. The family and home, which is their first community, has been destroyed,” she argued.
Several factors, she noted, have contributed to Jamaica’s current dilemma. These include industrialization, which has led to an increase in labour hours and also the migration from the rural areas to the urban areas by persons in search of work to improve their standard of living.
“These factors have forced the separation of family members, hence the children end up suffering. They end up lacking in training, values and the development of positive attitudes,” she argued.
Commenting on the competitions, Dr. Mullings said there would be no need for special application forms, as the Committee was working closely with schools islandwide to pique interest in the competitions.
Explaining the reason for the Committee taking this route, Dr. Mullings said that participation in last year’s poster competition, in particular, “was very low, to the extent that the first, second and third prize winners came from the same school”.
“I am urging teachers to go the extra mile in encouraging their students to participate. If you can identify a child with the requisite skills, give that child the motivation so that he or she may get the exposure,” she implored, adding that parents should also share in the responsibility.
The essay and poster competitions are divided into three age categories: 6-10 years; 11-14 years; and 15-18 years. Each entry should be based on the theme for Child Month.
Poster entries can be submitted on cartridge paper and can either be done in black and white or colour, while for the essay competition, entries should not exceed 1,000 words.
Participants may send entries to Dr. Pauline Mullings, Kingston High School at 172 King Street.
For further information, persons can contact Dr. Mullings at 816-2144 or 922-5645 With respect to prizes, Dr. Mullings said that these would be very attractive as first prize winners in all categories of the poster competition would be awarded summer programme scholarships to the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts, in addition to receiving cash awards. Second and third prize recipients will receive cash awards. She noted that all winners of the essay competition will, in fact, also receive cash awards.
The deadline for the submission of entries is March 31. The winning posters will be used on official programmes during Child Month activities.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mullings noted that the Committee has added a ‘Fish Fry’ to the list of pre-Child Month activities in order to raise additional funds to boost the cash awards for the competitions and also aid other Child Month events.
The date for the ‘Fish Fry’ is March 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and patrons may collect their orders at the Boys Brigade headquarters at 2E Camp Road in Kingston. Tickets are available from Dr. Mullings. The contribution is $350. Deliveries will be made to companies purchasing more than 10 tickets.
“Give us your support. Sponsor an event or activity. Work with us to achieve our goals so that we can help to create a better environment for our children,” she urged.
The first Child Month programme was organised in 1953 by the NCMC, which then comprised representatives from the Voluntary Organisation for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH) and Jamaica Save the Children Fund.
The Committee has been expanded since its inception, to include representatives of government and non-governmental organisations, working in the interest of the children of Jamaica.

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