New high schoolers ask God to bless them with success & good friends

After soaking up the sun and great fun at Jewel Resort during the Summer holiday, our GSAT kids have started high school! Having done well in their exams, the children are now enrolled at some of Jamaica’s top high schools. Cara is at Immaculate Conception, Immanuel and Israel Jamaica College and Nia-Ashley at St. Andrew High School for girls.

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From left: Nia-Ashley, Immanuel, Cara and Israel

As they embark on this new phase of life, the high achievers from prep and primary school are asking God to keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’ as they start high school.

Cara – As I embark on a new journey to high school, I would like God to help me to make Christian friends. I would like to have friends who will motivate me, who are focused and hardworking and will assist me in becoming a better Christian. I would like God to help me to be a good Christian friend as well.

Nia-Ashley – As I embark on this new stage of my life, I ask God to provide Christian friends with competent and motivated teachers  to support and guide me in the right direction. I also ask God to help me to maintain academic success and make my family and well-wishers proud.

Israel – I want God to assist me in gaining academic excellence in high school. I am believing God to give me great success in the sport of football.

Immanuel – As I go to high school, I want God to give me success in the area of football and for him to let me be the leading goal scorer on the school football Pepsi team. I also want the Lord to help me not to be ragged!

Family and Faith Magazine has been journeying with these 4 precious children over the last few months and we are pleased that in the end, with all the stress that GSAT brought, they have learned that hard work pays off, and the biblical adage holds true, you reap what you sow.

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St. Andrew High student serves the community with Jamaica Broilers help

The St. Andrew High School for girls has implemented a Community Service component to the school’s curriculum wherein each young lady is required to complete five (5) hours of voluntary community service each school year. We had the privilege of catching up with Miss Jada MacMillan, now entering grade 9 at the school, as she worked with the Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) to prepare back-to-school packages for students in the parish of St. Catherine.

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Jada has completed ten (10) service hours since being enrolled at St. Andrew High, though she has been an active volunteer even before joining the school.

“I have participated in community service with Jamaica Broilers Group since I was a baby (I don’t remember it all but I see the pictures). I have been to Bustamante Hospital, Sunbeam Boys Home and one Heroes Day I remember we went to Curphy Home to treat the Heroes of the war and hear their stories and serve them a Best Dressed Chicken dinner and we had a barber who cut their hair. I remember there was only one female war veteran.”

In her first year at St. Andrew, she volunteered at the Sunbeam Boys Home where she helped to prepare and serve breakfast for the boys. She also participated in their annual Christmas Day treat, though for her this was not unusual, as her family has traditionally visited the home each year on this occasion. In her second year, she worked with the Jamaica Broilers team to make packages for the orphans in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.

For Jada, the school, her family and JBG – where her mother Mrs. Lissa MacMillan is employed – have all contributed to shaping for her a culture of ‘giving back’.

Her most recent project with the Group saw her working alongside Miss Karla Davis, Public Relations and Training Assistant (affectionately known to Jada as Auntie Karla). Jada was charged with the responsibility of counting the items ordered to make sure that all were accounted for and ensuring that enough items were available for each package. Generally packages included a Best Dressed Chicken branded school bag, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, pencil cases, note books and other items depending on the age group of the recipients.

When asked about the experience, Jada replied, “I worked on the project with Auntie Karla. We worked two (2) days until we were finished and I didn’t care about the hours, I was happy knowing that it would make many children happy. It was very exciting and I enjoyed it. I realize that even if you don’t have money or things to give, you can give your time – it is valuable.”

The Company distributed 370 school bags filled with school supplies to residents of the communities within which their major operations are established including Spring Village, McCook’s Pen, Bodles and Freetown.

In closing, Jada remarked, “I think the programme at St. Andrew High wants us to learn to be better citizens and recognize that you have a responsibility to make somebody’s life better. I’m glad Jamaica Broilers is helping me to do this.”

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See RELATED story about St. Andrew Old Girl Kandi-Lee Crooks Smith:  Sweet as ‘Kandi’ – Overachieving Principal of the Year, Wife & Mother, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith Shares How God Orders Her Steps.

Single-sex versus Co-ed Schools?

The new academic year has begun and schools in Jamaica are expected to play a huge role in shaping the development of children and enabling them to achieve their full potential. However, one issue that some parents tend to reflect on is the question of single-sex versus co-educational institutions. To help us to assess the merits of both types of schools, Family and Faith Magazine caught up with veteran respected educator, Esther Tyson.

Family and Faith Magazine: What are some of the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a single sex institution?

Esther Tyson: Research has shown that girls do better at the sciences and math when they are in a single sex school. It appears that when girls are in co-ed schools they expect that the boys will do better at these subjects. Girls attending single sex schools generally are more competitive in that environment. I have seen where the girls attending a single sex school seem to be less prepared to engage with the opposite sex in a platonic way. Relationships with the opposite sex, unless they interact with them in other circumstances, tend to be rife with sexual interpretations and innuendos. Romantic attachments are imagined where there might be none.

In the same way, boys who do not have girls around tend to be rougher on the edges and may not understand how to treat the opposite sex. Boys in single sex schools seem to develop a more macho way of relating to each other in the absence of the girls. So there are academic as well as social advantages and disadvantages for single sex education.

Family and Faith Magazine: Although the answer to our next question was intimated in your first response, please still articulate for our readers the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a co-ed institution?

Esther Tyson: In a co-ed institution boys and girls learn to relate to each other as friends from early. In the 7th grade there is a healthy rivalry that takes place between all students. This changes when at about 9th grade the hormones really kick in and the awareness of the opposite sex in a sexual and romantic way change the dynamics of the relationships. Some girls become more shy and demure because they are trying not to compete with the boys but instead want to give them space to shine. On the other hand, boys may start to antagonize the girl that they like as a backhanded way of showing it.  The dynamics of the interaction certainly change in upper school. Underlying all of this though is a history that these students have with each other and an understanding of each other unlike those who are educated in a single sex school. In a co-ed school a girl can learn that she can do as well at the sciences, math and tech/voc subjects as any boy. This knowledge can boost her self-confidence. Girls and boys in co-ed school develop an understanding that they can have a platonic relationship with the opposite sex without any sexual or romantic attachments.

Family and Faith Magazine: Do you have a preference for either one, as it pertains to preparing a well-rounded actualized individual? Why or why not?

I think that both systems have their benefits. Both my daughters went to a single sex school, whilst my son went to a co-ed school. My girls had other environments apart from school where they interacted with the opposite sex, so the social impact was not felt. Academically, they were able to compete with other girls in all areas and develop their own skills without competing with boys. My son has good friendships with girls that he went to school with which are platonic, this is a healthy outcome of co-ed education.

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WATA, Wellness and Hurricane Prep with Fitness Coach Kamila McDonald

Persons who are overweight tend to overthink the weight loss and wellness process and get bogged down with gym membership fees, starvation diets, fat-burning tablets and other ideas, when sometimes one of the simple things that can be done immediately with little effort is ensuring that they are hydrated by drinking enough water. According to a recent study, some 50% of Jamaicans are dehydrated, which explains why so many are also overweight! However, thanks to the efforts of the WATA brand in Jamaica, efforts are being made to increase the hydration of Jamaicans and place hundreds on a path to wellness and weight management.

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Over the past 4 years, WATA Ambassador and Fitness Coach Kamila McDonald and other guest instructors have been leading the WATA Wellness family of approximately 100 persons every first and third Wednesday through various workout activities free of cost. Interestingly, the workouts are innovatively done with WATA bottles. “When I first started working with them (WATA), I thought, how cool would it be if you could use WATA bottles as weights? So we started using 1.5 litre and 5 litre WATA bottles during our workouts,” she told Family and Faith Magazine, beaming.

Plus as brawta each member receives their ‘workout WATA’ to go home, which is a great way for them to stock up during the current hurricane season. Of course September has seen some of the most intense storms during the season and Kamila recommends that Jamaicans stock up on a few 5 litre bottles of WATA in order to stay hydrated during the season, especially during water lock offs or simply to ensure that they are consuming clean potable WATA. Each person in your home needs at least 5 gallons of water over a 3-day period to stay hydrated.

Reflecting on the impact of the WATA Wellness Programme over the years, Kamila declares that “it has been a blessing. Through the WATA wellness programme, I know that I am fulfilling my purpose on earth. We have 1 member who has lost over 100 pounds by committing to the monthly workouts and you have women feeling more confident about themselves,” shared the bubbly fitness expert. She added that working with the WATA brand “fits so authentically into what I do in my life, which is teach people to be the healthiest version of themselves which you can’t do without proper hydration,” she explained, emphasizing that the most important aspect of being healthy is being and staying hydrated.

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For her personal regime, Kamila tries to get in 3 litres of water each day, which is two 1.5 litre WATA bottles. She espouses the adage that ‘water is life’ and points out that water in the human body lubricates joints, protects organs and helps with lethargy. And for those who don’t quite like the bland taste, she suggests adding a favourite fruit or vegetable such as oranges, cucumbers or lemons to your WATA beverage. The health guru also advised that sometimes when persons say they are hungry, sometimes they are simply dehydrated.

No doubt Kamila and the WATA Wellness Family will continue to spur Jamaicans on to a better version of themselves as they stay committed to hydration and wellness over the long haul. For more information about WATA’s Wellness Family connect with them via Facebook or send an email to watawellness@wisynco.com.

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Minister Marion Hall (formerly Lady Saw) Praises the God of Second Chances

Most Jamaicans know her as the ‘Queen of the Dancehall’. She has had an award-winning career as a master lyricist and scintillating performer, headlining countless shows locally and internationally. However a few years ago, the artiste formerly known as Lady Saw, turned over her life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Family and Faith Magazine connected with the former dancehall star who now goes by the name Minister Marion Hall which reflects her new mandate as a Christian artiste.

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Family and Faith Magazine: How have you changed since you committed your life to the Lord Jesus?

Minister Marion Hall: Praise Be to God, the God of second chances. I have changed in so many ways, but most importantly, I’ve changed for Christ.

Family and Faith Magazine: What have you been doing to keep growing in the Lord?

Minister Marion Hall: I’ve been staying in the Word, as the Holy Spirit had instructed me to do when I first got saved. I was also reminded in a vision some months ago, when I got distracted by family issues. My God directs my life.

Family and Faith Magazine: Do you ever feel tempted to go back to being Lady Saw? Why or Why not?

Minister Marion Hall: I have never. And will never be tempted to go back to do the work of the devil.  The reason is that I’m in love with the lord!!!! The second reason is that He gives me ‘the peace that passeth all understanding!!!’ And the last reason but not least, I never like that person. Lady saw that is.

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Family and Faith Magazine: Jamaica is celebrating 55 years of independence this year, If you had the power to change one thing about Jamaica, what would that be and why?

Minister Marion Hall: I would love to change so many things in our country.  But I don’t have the power. The ones with the power only looking out for themselves, while the poor remain poor, or die trying to survive. All I can do is pray for not just my country, but the world.

RELATED: OPERATION RESTORATION CHRISTIAN SCHOOL BRINGS HOPE TO THE NEEDY THROUGH THE KIND SUPPORT OF THE JAMAICA BROILERS GROUP

Family and Faith Magazine: You will be in Jamaica this August, tell us about where you will be ministering and about your latest project.

Minister Marion Hall: I will be ministering in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Savannah-La-Mar, and May pen. The dates are August 1, 5, 12 and 13. I will also be recording my new album with the “His Grace.”  On the 7th of October I will be ministering at the Montego Bay Convention Center. I will also be in Black River, Santa Cruz and Junction for December 7, 12 and 14.

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Jesus Lives in Jamaica!

I once heard the late renowned senior pastor, Dr. Myles Munroe joke (or maybe he wasn’t joking) that God lives in the Bahamas. I suppose he said that as testament to how blessed his homeland has been over the years. But if we were to go by the number of Jamaicans that associate themselves with a church as well as the number of churches in the island, Jamaica would definitely be the place where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reside!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Jamaica has the most churches per square mile of any country in the world. But then Jamaica is used to being among the best, highest, most or first: Jamaica has the fastest man and woman in the world, Jamaica’s reggae music is recognized across the world; Jamaica is recognized as the best place to do business in the region; Jamaica is among the top Miss World titleholders in the world (certainly is at the very top in the Caribbean); Jamaica has some of the world’s best healing herbs (especially its marijuana); Jamaica is now among the 10 most improved economies for doing business in the world and the list goes on and on.

So the fact that we have had the most churches per square mile isn’t too surprising. We tend to over-perform.

Established in the 1600s, the Church of England, which we know today as the Anglican Church, is said to be the oldest continuous religious presence in Jamaica. However longevity does not imply growth since according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, Anglican membership is among the smallest when compared to other denominations in Jamaica and furthermore it has been on the decline in recent years.

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On the other hand, the largest denomination in Jamaica is currently the Seventh-day Adventist faith with over 320,000 members. A Seventh-day Governor General and Prime Minister are therefore fairly representative of the population. Of course behind the Adventists are the Pentecostals, which number just under 300,000 followed by Church of God and the New Testament Church of God. Overall, irrespective of their associated denomination, it is estimated that some 77% of all Jamaicans identify with a religious organization, which makes the island, largely Christian, which then naturally means that ‘Jesus lives in Jamaica!’

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Seriously though, like Dr. Munroe, Jamaicans tend to feel like they are more God-blessed than any other country in the region or the world. Just ask any Jamaican about why predicted hurricanes somehow miraculously shift away from the rock at the last minute. Local meteorologists must get tired of advising that a severe destructive weather system is coming nigh Jamaica since at least 2.2 million people (the 77%) are going to fall on their knees and petition God to protect the island. And since they are His children, He will hear and answer. This has become such a thing that the other 23% (who don’t necessarily believe in God) started to question the veracity of the meteorologists’ methods and predictions about storms ‘coming to Jamaica’. It must be that the poor meteorologist is not so good at his job, is tricking us or is in cahoots with the private sector so that they can make more money from tin food, water and candle sales during the hurricane season, they surmise. Or, it could be that the storm simply naturally changed course which it sometimes is likely to do. For that 23%, those possibilities are more tolerable and reasonable than the idea that God actually hears and turns back or stops storms, as He had done in Mark 4:39. “Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

So if it is that God is hearing us pray and is sparing our island from natural disasters, why doesn’t He spare us from the scourge of crime and violence that continues to storm communities? Jamaica is known to be one of the most violent countries in the world. What a paradox: we have some of the happiest people, most beautiful locations, ‘irie’ music, best vibes, best sportspeople and yet we are among the most violent. Maybe we are too ‘spirited’ and I don’t mean in the Holy Spirit sense. Maybe we are too passionate intrinsically, so everything happens in extremes.

Or, maybe the 2.2 million intercessory massive don’t pray in desperation for deliverance from crime. Maybe we are not kneeling down on this issue because most of us are directly unaffected by violent crime. As horrible as crime is in Jamaica and the terrible reputation that Jamaica has developed as a country, most crimes are really only committed in pockets of communities in certain parishes. According to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank, victims of violent crime are concentrated in certain neighborhoods. “Living in a neighborhood with high physical disorder (graffiti, trash and abandoned buildings), low social cohesion (trust among neighbors) and a gang presence were all strongly associated with being a victim of violent crime.” So the entire island is not beset by the crime scourge, and that may be why the entire island, or at least the believing 77%, don’t seem to be bending their knees in desperation and begging God to intervene. But then how do we truly know that they do not?

Or, is it that crime is a social problem that involves the will, unlike a natural hazard which we understand to be largely an act of God? Is it that God would not so readily intervene when man’s free will is involved? And is it that we reap what we collectively sow in corruption of all sorts, abuse in families, father’s abandonment of children, mother’s sowing seeds of bitterness in their children, unforgiveness, poor parenting practices etc.etc.etc?

Or is the issue one of unity? We stand in unity when we pray against hurricanes approaching Jamaica. Not so much when praying about crime, if as individuals we pray about crime at all. There have been many marches and prayer meetings, but do we as professed Christians personally and consistently pray for the deliverance and protection of communities and the nation or do we typically only ‘cover our house under the blood?’ Kudos to Reverend Jeffrey Shuttleworth and the Tarrant Baptist Church (TBC) radio team, who have been using the airwaves to regularly and strategically pray and pull down strongholds of darkness all over Jamaica.

Certainly the crime issue is an area for genuine introspection and genuflection not only by the church but by Jamaicans overall. However, in all the devising and scheming that we must do to quell crime, I believe the church’s original mandate to save, redeem and disciple is the greatest deterrent to crime. Yes, we have some false prophets and sinful pastors that have muddied the church’s reputation but the overarching positive transformational impact of the church on the island cannot be hidden.

RELATED: OPERATION RESTORATION CHRISTIAN SCHOOL BRINGS HOPE TO THE NEEDY THROUGH THE KIND SUPPORT OF THE JAMAICA BROILERS GROUP

The church has made a significant contribution to Jamaica’s progress and prosperity over the years, particularly as it pertains to the development of education and social services. Most of the schools and charities in Jamaica were founded by churches. And if we agree with the late human rights activist and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela that “education is the greatest weapon you can use to change the world,” then the church’s investment in Jamaica’s education has been life-changing and nation-building. Indeed, if you add the number of churches and church-run schools operating in the island, you wouldn’t be able to deny that God’s hand is actively at work in Jamaica. And maybe His hand is upon us because every major and minor event in Jamaica starts or ends with a request to God to bless and guard our country and grant wisdom to national leaders, through the playing of the beloved national anthem.

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As we commemorate 55 years of independence this month, let us therefore continue to discern God’s hand in our land and give Him the glory for all the great things He has done in Jamaica. And as we envision the future, let us abide in His great love and seize ‘the abundant life’ that His son, the Lord Jesus promised to all who believe in Him, irrespective of our denominational persuasion.

Happy ‘Emancipendence’ Jamaica!

Shelly-Ann Harris is the Editorial Director and Founder of Family and Faith Magazine. 

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Who is your Model Woman?

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By Sophia Campbell (3rd left), founder of Model Woman Ministry

Clothed with strength and dignity, she is the Model Woman.  Far from being perfect but being perfected in and through her experiences and along the way positively impacting the lives of others. She is you, me, the stay-at-home mom, CEO in the boardroom, the single woman, the working woman, community leader, household assistant, pastor, no matter the role or position.; she is a Model Woman.

Six children she raised, a housewife, always at home and looking out for the best interest of the family.  There was never a day that I returned from school and she was not there.  She was also a dressmaker, who sewed only for her children and the only person who I knew could bake without using any measuring apparatus. Her Christmas cakes were the best!!  Every Saturday morning, bar none, she traveled to Coronation Market.  A trip she loved to make. I went on many of them with her.

She was wholly dependent on my father for financial assistance.  I loved her, but at the same time feared becoming like her, for the sole reason that she had nothing of her own and she was dependent on my father to provide for her.   She always honoured and respected him and served him hand and foot.

No matter what time my dad came home she served him a hot meal, even without him asking.  I hated that, because I never once heard him say thanks.  She was selfless and I could not understand why she chose to stay home.  Especially in an environment that was “not so harmonious” most of the time. Me stay at home?  Never.  Independence was the goal for me, my own money, my job, my things, my life…my OWN EVERYTHING!!!   

However, as I grew older I began to appreciate mom being at home. The place could not run without her.  It was proven time and time again.  She left a few times and eventually came back, every time.  However, overtime we took her for granted, but she remained steadfast in her commitment and unconditional love for us.

I remembered the last time I saw her, I was upset with her, because she did something for me and I did not like the way she did.  I left home angry that day. However, later I realized that I was too harsh and had an apology card, a gift and a bar of her favourite chocolate in my tote bag. However, my hopes of reconciliation were dashed when my sister met me at the street corner, before I could reach home that mom was in the hospital.  When I saw her in the hospital she was unconscious, she suffered a stroke and passed away.  I found it hard to recover.  It was difficult to forgive myself.  It took a long time to come to terms with it.

She was not a Christian; however, she always shared a scripture form the book of Psalms before I went to bed.  I would see her cry sometimes and I promised myself I would take her away from here one day and take her to a “happy place”.  I knew that she served and loved us through her trials and pain.  She sacrificed a lot for me, for our family and I did not get a chance to tell her how much she meant to me; how much I appreciated her. It was the one time in life I can truly say, “I did not get a second chance.”

Now, when I look back on her life. I realized that, though not perfect, she taught and showed me unconditional love, how to honour a spouse, irrespective of how the spouse treats you and how to manage a household.   She is my   MODEL WOMAN…one of.

We have an opportunity now to tell the person who is a Model Woman to you how they impacted your life and honour them for it.   This is counter to what we have been taught or seen, as this is usually reserved for preparing a eulogy. I am convinced that this should change and we should share our appreciation testimony while the person is still with us. Make the effort to let them know that they do indeed matter and change your life, for the better, no matter how small. Launched in May of this year, Model Woman is a ministry that has this simple objective; to recognize the woman/women in our lives who have helped to mould us and model the character of Christ to us.

Another person I consider my Model Woman is Mrs. Patricia Scully.  She mentored and discipled me for over 15 years.  She is like a mother figure to me.  Her advice to me is always “Remember who you are in Christ Sophie.”  Indeed, there are many godly women who discipled younger women; there were those who trained and mentored them, transforming them by God’s grace.

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As we reflect on how to minister to women today, we should remember and recognize those who have blessed us, particularly my Pastor, Mrs. Joan Fletcher, who encouraged me to launch the Model Woman Ministry and hosted it at her home.  The next meeting will be held in September 2017. For more information, check out Model Woman Ministry on Facebook.

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Kind Hearts fuel the engine at Stewart’s Automotive Group

Family and Faith Magazine is always pleased to highlight how successful corporate enterprises are giving back to Jamaica, especially those family-run entities that feature generations of savvy business minds with a kind heart towards the community. Indeed it seems as though kindness is what fuels the engine at the Stewart’s Automotive Group which has been putting their profits where their heart is, and in this season of independence Family and Faith Magazine is happy to highlight a few of the ways that the Group has blessed Jamaica.

The Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation

Since its inception in 1938, the Stewart’s Automotive Group has always played a huge role in working toward the betterment of Jamaica. However it was in 2009, that Diana and her late husband founded the Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation to further their efforts in giving back to Jamaica. The Foundation provides numerous academic scholarships for at-risk youth, including the children of the Stewart’s Automotive Group staff members.

Following in their grandparents’ footsteps, the six grandchildren responded to the systemic poverty in Jamaica by founding their own branch of the Richard and Diana Stewart Foundation, Kind Hearts. Kind Hearts focuses on community housing and education needs for underprivileged families in Jamaica. The grandchildren have participated in the construction and fundraising efforts of four compassion homes and several basic schools in rural Jamaica. In August 2016, Kind Hearts successfully reached its goal of building five basic schools in five years alongside Food for the Poor Jamaica.

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One of Kind Heart’s biggest fundraising initiatives is the Colour Me Happy Charity Powder Run – the first run in colour introduced in Jamaica. Defined by creativity, drive and a passion for helping the less fortunate, participants of the run are some of the happiest people in Jamaica looking to have a good time and make a difference with their contribution.

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Other Philanthropic Efforts

  • The Group rallied behind Food for the Poor Jamaica to collect funds and donations of canned goods and bottled water to provide aid for those affected by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
  • In October 2016, Stewart’s participated in a Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative #DriveForTheCure with the Jamaica Cancer Society.
  • Stewart’s plays an active role in promoting job creation and training in Jamaica by being active participants in the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP); and providing work experience for student technicians at the Jamaica-German Automotive School (JAGAS) and the Ministry of Labour’ “Steps to Work” programme.
  • In 2006, Diana Stewart was Chairperson of the American Chambers of Commerce Jamaica (AMCHAM) Fund Raising and Design Committee and was instrumental in the fundraising and construction of the Grants Pen Model Community Policing and Services Centre developed in partnership with USAID, GOJ and the Private Sector. This new centre was valued at US$2.5 million dollars.
  • Stewart’s Auto Sales decided to contribute 0.5% of the total cost of every Suzuki sold, to the Economic Development Foundation of Jamaica, in 2007, in keeping with its Peace Initiative and to assist with the paying off of debts incurred whilst in the process of building AMCHAM PLACE, and purchasing additional property for parking and a Peace Park, now known as the CHASE Peace Park. In 2009, Mrs. Stewart, then the Chairman of AMCHAM Jamaica, was instrumental in hosting a successful forum on the H1N1 virus protection for Jamaica as well as a Health Safety Security Environment Conference and Economic Forum.
  • In 2008 Richard and Diana Stewart were nominated as Business Leaders of the Year by the Jamaica Observer.
  • Recognising the need for first class medical facilities, the Stewart’s Automotive Group joined a number of companies in becoming donors of The Tony Thwaites Wing Expansion at the University Hospital of the West Indies. This expansion still benefits the entire hospital. Stewarts has also been involved with health campaigns, including the National Council for Drug Abuse/Addiction Alert’s documentary “Put God First” with singer Roy Rayon and donating the profit for a car raffle for keeping an AIDS Hospice open in the fight against AIDS.
  • Stewart’s has always been supporters as well as a sponsors of Jamaican Sports and the Arts. The Group is a proud sponsor of Usain Bolt’s Racers Grand Prix. Additionally, on the Reggae Boyz’s “Road to France,” Suzuki Jamaica donated the proceeds of three cars to the three most improved players. Stewart’s also donated a Suzuki to several Test Series for Man of the Series for West Indies cricket. The Group was also a contributor to the establishment of the reconstructed Edna Manley Health Centre.
  • Other endeavours include working alongside several missionaries such as Missionaries of the Poor and Youth With a Mission Jamaica (YWAM).

The Holy Scriptures tell us that “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done,” (Proverbs 19:17). May the kindness of the Stewart Automotive Group continue to bless Jamaica in the years to come and may God in His wisdom and grace reward them abundantly.

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Operation Restoration takes Jamaica Broilers Employees to School

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JBG PR Assistant, Karla Davis spends time reviewing numbers with the students of the Joy Town Learning Centre (a part of the Operation  Restoration Christian School)

Without books, lunch, uniforms and the payment of fees, some children from vulnerable communities oftentimes ‘drop out’ of high school, thereby losing their chance to attain a good education. Without a good education, they are less likely to make a decent living as adults and as a result may engage in anti-social, destructive behaviours. However thanks to the efforts of charity organization, Operation Restoration Christian School, working in partnership with dedicated donors such as the Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG), many children in Trench Town and the surrounding communities are being given the opportunity to not only access the educational system, but also to thrive.

On a recent visit to the School, JBG employees observed first-hand the life-changing work of the organization, whose goal is to improve the education outcomes for children enrolled in school and to facilitate further education and training for those no longer in the conventional school system. The school aims to bring secondary level students who may have fallen out of the mainstream educational system up to a Grade 9 level of performance, with the hope that they will be successful at the Grade 9 Achievement Test and streamed back into regular high schools.

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Danah Cameron, JBG Group PR & Training Officer listens keenly as Operation Restoration Christian School Representatives share their vision

As part of efforts to achieve this goal, the institution works closely with parents to ensure that students have adequate support and the best chance for success. Principal, Mr. Robert Dixon, noted that parents are therefore strategically involved in various activities including team building exercises, workshops, Christmas dinners and school trips. The dedicated Principal also frequently walks the community to meet and engage with parents about their children. “We have to bridge the gap,” he reasoned.

The basic school arm has also been making important strides in providing education for younger children, specifically in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The programmes employed at this early childhood level are cutting edge and geared toward more ‘logical’ learning approaches that are designed to assist students in grasping concepts well beyond basic school. As such the programme intends to track the progress of students as they enter mainstream primary schools in order to gauge the success of their teaching methods over the long term.

An early childhood teacher at the facility, Ms. Delphena Robinson is herself a testament of the longstanding positive impact of the facility and its founders in the community. Ms. Robinson shared that many years ago she was ‘adopted’ by one of the founders of the school, Pastor Bobby Wilmot and his family when he was conducting Street Ministry in Jones Town. She recalled that although she was the only child ‘adopted’ from her large family, Pastor Wilmot with the help of other co-founders of Operation Restoration Christian School including Bishop Peter Morgan and Major Richard Cooke supported her entire family. She recalled that when the school started in the 90s, she initially assisted with the cooking and cleaning. However, as the school progressed and the need for teachers arose, she studied and received the necessary qualifications so that she could be eligible for the position. Today Ms. Robinson stands as an inspiring example in the Trench Town community.

Delighted by the successes so far and the constructive energy of the children and teachers during the visit, the Jamaica Broilers Group employees hugged, ‘high-fived’, and played with some of the children while assisting others with their reading and mathematics lessons.  “The Jamaica Broilers Group is happy to see the positive attitudes and the educational strides that students are making at Operation Restoration Christian School,” expressed Ms. Karla Davis, Public Relations Assistant at the JBG, during the visit. She pointed out that, “Each student’s success is a success for the community, and when the community succeeds, we are that much closer to transforming our nation. That goes to the core of our vision at the Jamaica Broilers Group.”

Ms. Davis added that, “Donations from the Jamaica Broilers Group ensure that the children, teachers and other members of staff are fed daily and it is our privilege to be a part of keeping literacy and numeracy available to the children of Jamaica through support of this programme.”

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Successful GSAT Students Have Great Fun at Jewel Runaway Bay!

After months and weeks of intense preparations, grade 6 students in Jamaica braced and battened down for sitting one of the most feared events among primary level children and their parents, teachers and well-wishers. No, they weren’t expecting a hurricane, they were preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test, GSAT. For 2 days in March, 11 and 12 year-old boys and girls sat what seemed to be the great arbiter of their future success in life. Even with hundreds of hours of study, sleepless nights and Saturday classes in their arsenal, some still wept and wailed on the morning of the exams. At the end of the period of ‘testing’, many realized that they gave the exams way too much power. They realized that ultimately it is God who orders our steps and that our responsibility is to dream, be diligent, work hard and believe that ‘God will work all things for our good’. Even with that revelation it is still very important to help the children unwind and release the stress they endured for months.

With this in mind, Family and Faith Magazine in partnership with Jewel Runaway Bay treated a handful of hardworking high-performing GSAT students from prep and primary school to a few days of amazing fun! Jewel is certainly well known for its kid-friendly fun-focused activities; from the exhilarating waterparks, kayaking and ranch activities to the kids, tween and teen centres where the agenda is always fun, kids are set up to always have a great time.

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From left – GSAT Students Nia-Ashley, Israel Redwood, Cara Burrell and Immanuel Redwood

Jewel Runaway Bay Hotel Manager Patrick Bryan told Family and Faith Magazine that when kids arrive on the property they have no trouble parking their tablets. “It is amazing when children come on the resort and how many sign up for the kids centre and tweens centre. We have games like Capture The Flag and Treasure Hunt and they would run all over the property to find something and bring it back and it creates such a joy to them and especially their parents because according to the parents, when they are at home, they don’t do any physical activity.”

RELATED: An Outdoor Adventure for your Family!

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Patrick Bryan (second from right) enjoying golf with the budding high schoolers!

Speaking of the students, Mr. Bryan a GSAT father himself noted that, “They need to relax, to recover, because after GSAT they are going to high school and going into high school you also have to prepare for that so they have to have this time where they can have some peace and tranquility – do other things than studying.” And so our four GSAT students who did exceptionally well in their exams and are now gearing up to enroll in some of Jamaica’s top high schools had their chance to enjoy the lovely property.

Cara Burrell, Nia-Ashley Harris, Immanuel Redwood and Israel Redwood worked hard and thankfully had the chance to play hard at the award-winning family resort. The 4 pupils put down their pencils and picked up an unending supply of delicious pizza, golf clubs, swimming gear, games and other fun stuff as they enjoyed the fun-filled property. At the end of their time, they told Family and Faith magazine about what they enjoyed most.

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Cara Burrell: – I was excited when my mother told me I was going to spend three days with my friend, Nia at Jewel Runaway Bay. We left Kingston at about 4:30 p.m. and got there at 5:45 p.m.. A lot of people were there having a great time. When we arrived,  Auntie Mellesley, our tour guide, gave us cold rags to put on our faces. Then she showed us to our rooms. Auntie Tamar stayed with us (Nia and I) in our room and was our chaperone. Nia and I got ready for dinner and went to a restaurant next to the golf course. They had a wide range of food on the menu but I chose my all time favorite food: chicken and fries. I liked the presentation of the food. After we ate, we waited for the golf carts to take us back to the lobby. We went to our rooms, got ready for bed and watched TV for a while before going to sleep.

The next day we spent most of the day at the pool. We also went sailing and saw a huge stingray. After that we had dinner at the Jade Samurai, a Japanese restaurant. The chef chopped up the food very fast. The food was delicious! After dinner, we went back to our rooms, got ready for bed, watched TV for a little while and then it was lights out as Auntie Shelly had instructed!

On the last day of our trip, we went to the recording studio and Nia and I recorded a song written by Kevin Downswell “You Make Me Stronger”. I thought we sounded melodious.  After that, we went to the golf course on a golf cart and played golf for a little while. I used a golf club very well. Later, I went to the gift shop and got a beautiful bracelet which I will treasure as it marks my fun trip to Jewel Runaway Bay with my best friend, Nia. I had a really wonderful time at the hotel. The staff was delightful; the rooms were comfortable; the food was delicious and overall it was an extremely enjoyable stay.

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Nia-Ashley Harris :- My stay at Jewel Runaway Bay has been an amazing experience. On the first day of our stay since we arrived at about 5:30pm, we quickly changed to go to the Great Escape Restaurant. We all enjoyed the peculiar dishes which tasted delicious! As it grew later, we made our way back to the hotel room and watched YouTube and Netflix on the television. Fortunately, for us, we got to stay up really late! It was so fun!

On day two after breakfast at the buffet, my best friend Cara and I went to the recording studio to record Kevin Downswell’s version of Stronger. Our tour guide, Aunty Mellesley, showed us to the recording room, made entirely out of egg cartons. This fascinated me because they used recycled materials for a new purpose; absorbing sound! This is so interesting to me because I love science. After we recorded the song, we played Just Dance at the tween centre. Later, we went to the beach and sailed out into the ocean on a sailboat. Our guide was fun and gave us an amazing experience! At 8pm, we went to the Japanese restaurant for dinner, where they had a stove in the middle of the table so the chef could cook in front of us. The food was scrumptious! The chef was also warm and inviting.

We also went to the golf course where our guide taught us how to swing our golf clubs and hit the balls. Our instructor said I was a natural! I am truly elated to have been granted this wonderful stay at Jewel Runaway Bay!

JRB - Jade Samurai - teppanyaki table

Israel Redwood: – Staying at the Jewel Runaway Bay was very exciting! I will give 10 fun and coolest things I enjoyed the most:

  • I enjoyed floating around in the Lazy River
  • The long tube slide at the water park was great!
  • I went in the super speed body slide many times.
  • The food area at the Water Park was good
  • I learnt to play golf. This was soo cool!
  • I met two boys one from Canada and the other from the USA and we played table tennis together!
  • The video games were great!
  • In the games centre I played Fifa games for hours.
  • I really just enjoyed running around and exploring the property.
  • The Japanese restaurant was really good and new for me. The chef prepared the food right in front of us!

JRB - Platinum Restaurant - Mini Sirloin and Guava Pepper Lobster

Immanuel Redwood: – My stay at Jewel Runaway Bay was very interesting I would give them a 5 Star!  The ten coolest activities I enjoyed there were:

  • I loved the tube slide at the water park.
  • Another winner was the super speed body slide!
  • I enjoyed the pool. There were two just outside of my balcony and a small one assigned to my room!
  • The boat ride was just amazing – we went sailing.
  • I played table tennis with two foreigners and it was fun!
  • The Fifa games in the games room made my day.
  • I learnt to play golf. I believed I hit my ball the farthest!
  • Going to dinner to the Great Escape in the golf cart was exciting!
  • The studio recording was fun. My brother and I did an original acapella.
  • Watching the chef at the Japanese restaurant was cool. The Chef next to my table was fun as he threw pieces of food into the guest’s mouth.

JRB Guestroom View of Waterpark

RELATED: Swimming is for Everyone!

All in all, the kids gave the resort full marks, which is no surprise since the property was this year again named Best Family Resort in the region. Family and Faith Magazine is delighted that Scott Robbins was also honoured as Best General Manager. We couldn’t be happier! Jewel  Runaway Bay continues to be an escape from the wear and tear of everyday life to a welcoming place for great fun, beauty, camaraderie and relaxation!

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