- The Mount Olivet Boys’ Home in Walderston, Manchester welcomed with open arms the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) team that made its way to the facility on Saturday, April 26, for its annual Sports Day.
- The JIS team, along with supporting family and friends enjoyed the day’s activities, enhanced by the bond which has been formed with the boys over the years.
- The JIS team has been visiting the home three times per annum since December 2009, when the government agency adopted the facility as its main outreach activity.
The Mount Olivet Boys’ Home in Walderston, Manchester welcomed with open arms the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) team that made its way to the facility on Saturday, April 26, for a day of sports and fun with the boys.
There was overwhelming support, as expressed on previous visits, with the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) – chartered bus scarcely able to contain the number of persons who journeyed to the home.
The JIS team, along with supporting family and friends enjoyed the day’s activities, enhanced by the bond which has been formed with the boys over the years.
One such supporter of the project is Deidre Barrett, a student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
She told JIS News that, “I keep coming back to the home because it’s something special to me. I’ve grown an attachment to the boys. I enjoy coming here and doing the various activities. Sports day is a big thing for the boys, as well as the summer and Christmas visits. Today’s activities were good and I’m glad we didn’t have any rain this year. I hope to see the boys very soon again. Our next journey is in the summer and I can’t wait”.
The JIS team has been visiting the home three times per annum since December 2009, when the government agency adopted the facility as its main outreach activity. Since then, the relationship between the agency and the boys, and administrators of the home, has blossomed.
First time visitors to the home were upbeat about the trip and the fun-filled activities.
Senior JIS Driver, Anthony Kelly explained that, “my reason for coming today was the new sports field I saw when I took the JIS Mount Olivet committee to the Home last month. I knew I would enjoy the games and be able to show the boys some of the skills I’ve learnt as a past football player on the Tivoli football team.”
He added that, “It was a very lovely day. The organisers were good and I would come again because I like the environment, and the people that came made the event a good one. I will invite other people to come as well.”
New staff members, such as Public Relations Officer, Oroyo Eubanks, were also enthusiastic about the visit.
“I decided to go on this visit as a newcomer to the JIS because I think it’s a good initiative. It’s a different side to what the JIS is known for doing and it actually adds to staff development and allows the staff to give back in a way that is impactful,” Mr. Eubanks said.
“What better way to do that than to spend time with the boys that don’t have the privilege of being in an open society as we do, or have the privilege of having parents and brothers and sisters around them to show some kind of love,” he said.
Mr. Eubanks not only attended the event for the first time, but played a major role in the smooth running of the day’s activities. “I assisted in emceeing the sports day and I enjoyed it to the max. It was a day well spent,” he said.
He also spoke to the warmth he observed between the JIS team and the wards.
“I thought the camaraderie between the boys and the JIS staff was just perfect…it was so good to see the warmth that the JIS brought to the boys. When each staff member gathered with their mentee you could see how happy they were to see them,” Mr. Eubanks said.
Another newcomer is a recent addition to the staff at the Mount Olivet Boys’ Home, Assistant Director, Dionne Harriott.
She was delighted by the sports day stating that, “the boys had fun. We appreciate the whole JIS family sharing with them. It was a family occasion with children, adults and even grandparents. The competitiveness of the whole day was great. It was well organized and executed.”
A 14-year-old resident of the home told JIS News that, “it was enjoyable. It was good. I was in Red House, the winning house, and I enjoyed the running and the football.”
The JIS team journeys to the home annually, during the Easter, Back-to-School, and Christmas periods.