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JIS News

The needs of children will be the main focus of volunteers in all parishes on December 4, as activities heighten to commemorate International Volunteer Day on December 5.
“We are so very excited about what is happening in the various parishes this year,” President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council of Voluntary Social Services , Winsome Wilkens told JIS News.
“In most of the parishes, they are going to be making children facilities environmentally friendly and so they have identified basic schools and some primary schools, where volunteers are going to plant trees and beautify the surroundings,” she added.
Indeed, the parish committees islandwide, headed by Custodes, are pulling out all the stops this year to make it a memorable year for volunteerism in Jamaica, which started off with a record amount of volunteers coming forward to participate in the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007.
Then there was November 25, dubbed ‘A Day of Care’, when some 300 homeless persons were assisted with food, clothing and medical services at the Saint William Grant Park. This was the national activity to observe International Volunteer Day.
Meanwhile, the most ambitious project will be undertaken in the parish of Manchester, where Custos Gilbert Allen and his committee members have elected to provide and install a one-way viewing mirror, for use in identifying possible perpetrators of sexual and physical crimes involving child victims, at the Mandeville Police Station.
For the Custos of St. James, Clarence D. Nelson and his committee, the focus will be on painting and cleaning four basic schools in the parish, while for Custos R. James deRoux and his group in Clarendon, Cross Basic School will receive special attention.
Reverend Sophia Azan, Custos of St. Catherine and the parish committee will do upgrading work at the Rose Hall Basic School. Similarly, the Custos of St. Thomas, Marcia Bennett, will extend help to the Lions Club of St. Thomas Basic School.
Some 50 students of the Dorothy Webber Basic School will benefit from repairs to the roof and also the procurement of furniture and other equipment by the parish committee, headed by Custos of St. Andrew, Bishop Carmen Stewart.
In Portland, Custos Roy Thompson will target the School of Hope in Port Antonio, while Acting Custos of Hanover, Calvin Brown and his committee will pursue the environmental refurbishment of the Bethel Town Basic School.
Headed by Custos of St. Ann, Radcliffe Walters, the parish committee will seek to beautify and subsequently maintain the upper section of Lawrence Park in St. Ann’s Bay.
The Pepper Basic School in St. Elizabeth will receive assistance in the form of landscaping and the covering of a drain from the parish committee, headed by Custos Alfred Farquharson.
Custos Roylan Barrett of Trelawny will play host to the ‘Most Environmentally Friendly School’ competition. Tools, plants, fertilizer, among other items, were provided for competing schools. Since 2001, Jamaica has observed International Volunteer Day (IVD). Mrs. Wilkens noted that the IVD Committee works in collaboration with Custodes, inviting them to form parish committees and arrange projects in which volunteers can work on the day.
“We also use the occasion to recognise volunteers, who have served various organisations,” she explained, adding that the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica was instrumental in funding the parish activities.
The theme for this year is – ‘Volunteers Partnering for National Development: Together We Can Achieve More’.