On March 21, 2012 at 10:00am a career forum was organized by volunteers on the SIGHT-C project a sub component of the care project. Bettina Veldhoff and Selina Beltrani are volunteers on the SIGHT-C project that decided to stage this important forum for a group of grade six students at the Bethabara Primary and Junior High School.
Bettina the main organizer for the forum is a final year Bachelor’s final year degree internship student in Social Work. On the project she is working with children who has conduct disorders, learning disabilities and psychological disorders, she is currently working on a pilot social intervention project geared towards identifying needs and creating projects. One of the projects was geared towards increasing literacy, numeracy and the career output of the children. It was through theses thrusts that the idea for the career forum was developed.
The aim of the forum was to enlighten the children about various career choices and share personal experiences bout their walk along the career path. Bettina worked with Selina to conduct interviews with the children share a power point presentation, which highlighted schooling options for particular grades and options for study areas. They provided the necessary support, helping to boost the self-esteem of the children so that they could make wise career choices in the future. This was done the day before the children sat their external exams for grade six students, the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). The children appreciated the effort and the forum was passed as being a successful one.
SIGHT-C is a project geared towards assisting children in schools with various social problems. These include self-esteem issues, anger management, conflict resolution, sexual trauma, child abuse, adjustment issues and self-management. Volunteers will use a variety of strategies to provide social intervention. These include facilitating group and individual counseling sessions with children, preparing and delivering presentations to classes on important topics, conducting home visits and assisting with investigations, report preparation and follow-up. Volunteers will work directly with and under the supervision of the school’s guidance counselor but will need to be self-sufficient, assertive and capable of working sometimes with limited supervision. Volunteers will be assigned homework tasks by Project Officer to assist with their preparation for work and to ensure accountability and guarantee effective social intervention.
Anouk Boigny is a French national who was on a mission to help children when she came across the Projects Abroad program she instantly decided that this will be the perfect avenue to complete all her desires. She expresses these desires in this quote, “I have been willing to live this kind of experience since a very long time and now I have the opportunity to do it since I choose to spend some sabbatical time. I have always been interested in helping people in need. I am actually a member of an NGO aiming to help deprived children in Côte d'Ivoire.”
She is now a long way from Côte d'Ivoire and is working really hard to make good on the objectives she has set for herself. She is currently on the care project working on one its newest placement, Friends In Need. This is a charity organization founded by Miss Yvonne Townsend to provide care and intervention for homeless persons. Counselling is also provided to at risk individuals who are desirous of changing their lifestyle and becoming self-sufficient. The organization also has a remedial class for children who are unable to afford extra lessons in formal school settings.
It must be mentioned that Anouk extended her project twice to carry on with the work that she has owned and has been doing a phenomenal job since she began working at Friends In Need since February 13, 2012. It is also important to mention that she was the first volunteer to be placed at Friends In Need.
Her tasks volunteering include working with HIV/AIDS persons, counselling them and providing the necessary support. These persons will meet with her once they are able to find the necessary means to come into town for a visit. Other times Anouk is busy distributing food and clothing to homeless persons. Thanks to her Friends In Need now has a website that is up and running.
Anouk is highly satisfied with her work at Friends In Need and she loves every moment of it. Before she was working pretty much behind the scenes in Côte d'Ivoire, doing much administrative work, now she has the opportunity to do hands on work helping the less fortunate in society, not sure if she is planning to extend again but for now everyone is enjoying the benefit of Anouk’s benevolence.
The Culture and Community Project Officer, Stacy Ann Barrett has developed the idea to embark on a recycling move at Projects Abroad Jamaica. What started as a simple request from computer ink providers for empty ink cartridges is steadily growing into an interesting recycling set-up.
Stacy Ann has now identified a special receptacle to temporarily house recycling items beyond that of empty ink cartridges. She has now begun collecting empty plastic bottles for the purpose of carting them off to a recycling plant at one of the partners of the Community and Culture Project, the Christiana Potato Growers Association.
The recycling project began in January of this year, and started with the exchange of the empty ink cartridges, since March Stacy Ann began the collection of the empty plastic bottles and has a growing zest to collect as many plastic containers as possible, even encouraging staff and volunteers to make their contribution by placing empty plastic bottles in the special receptacle, rather than placing them in the regular garbage disposal unit.
Conservation of the environment is the main thrust; however she has also found that the recycling project has lead to a two-fold effect. The exchange of these recycling materials brings about a small income and all proceeds will be used to further the efforts of the Immunitiative Project, currently being undertaken in Jamaica. The Immunitiative Project will focus on building a care facility for a targeted forty children living with HIV/AIDS; a partnership between Projects Abroad Jamaica.
Beyond this small scope, it is her vision to see the project grow and have a wider impact. Her aim is to start heavy promotion of the recycling effort with the hope to get more persons on board, she says, ‘The host families are next on my list and I hope to encourage them to support the cause.”
Social Manager at the Care Centre having devotions with the children
Lena works at the Care Centre- was accopanied by the Social Manager on Staff Volunteering Day
On Wednesday, March 21 the staff of Projects Abroad Jamaica took four hours from their regular mode of activities to volunteer at individually selected placements.
The care placements received most of the additional help, as four staff members selected various care placements and two staff volunteered at the Manchester Parish Council and the Percy Junor Hospital respectively. Staff worked alongside volunteers in completion of various tasks at the placements. This would help staff have a greater appreciation and understanding of the work the volunteers do, bond with volunteers and build partner relationships.
Staff shared in activities such as conducting devotions, reading stories, feeding babies, sweeping floors, changing diapers, putting a baby on a nebulizer, conducting earthquake drills and talks, among other tasks.
Stacy Ann Barrett volunteering with the Disaster Management team
The placements were grateful for the assistance and even asked a few of the staff if they would return the following day. All of the staff contended that they had a full and challenging day, however the experience was rewarding.
One host mother on the Projects Abroad Jamaica program has transformed a simple book engraved ‘Guests’ from a formal sentiment to one of family and familiarity. The Stewart’s have welcomed over fifty volunteers into their home and has stilled the moment by capturing and treasuring photographs and words of love and appreciation.
The book was presented as a gift from a past volunteer, who writes on the intro page, “This book is for all the volunteers from Projects Abroad [Jamaica] that are fortunate to stay in this loving home (just my own humble opinion- Cathy), Clara and Dalton Stewart, also known as the amazing and loving ‘Mammy C and Daddy D’” The first comments in the book are dated April 28, 2010 ad since then many volunteers have echoed the feelings and thoughts of Cathy.
Mrs. Stewart treasures this book deeply and found it ‘emotionally challenging’ to lend the book to the Social Manager to write this blog, I promised to be gentle and take good care of it; even since she has made a small check on her precious collection.
The last dated entry thus far is February 2, 2012 and certainly this won’t be the last entry, as the Stewarts have made an indelible mark as an exceptional host family. Volunteers have expressed feeling comfortable, relaxed and welcomed. Most volunteers have commented on the “Reggae nights” as that seemed to be a favourite past time for the volunteers and the Stewarts.
Bob from Australia, the other half of a married couple who stayed with the Stewart’s, in show of sadness of having to depart so quickly, sums up the experience and feeling well, he wrote “Remember- no situation in life is permanent – except perhaps memories of Jamaica!”
We wish the Stewart’s all the best with their collection and that the memories will indeed last a lifetime.
Living abroad is not just learning a new language.
It's not just walking through the streets and meeting different people and diverse cultures. It is not only the value of money that changes.
It's not just work on something that you would never do in your country. Not only be able to earn much more money than you used to earn.
It is not just to get a diploma or a do a different course.
Living abroad is not just making new friends and collects different pictures. Not only have crazy schedules and see your routine changing daily.
It is not just learning to wash, iron and cook.
It's not just eating different foods, paying your bills on time, and sacrificing yourself to pay the rent at the end of the week.
It is not only having an obligation to give explanations about your life and be independent. It's not just loving the new changes and also missing those people that you love and some things in your country.
It's not just jump out of your bed in a second when some delivery from Switzerland arrives.
It is not only already known that it is someone from Switzerland calling when your phone rings in the same time.
It's not just the distance.
It's not just the news.
It's not just a new point of view.
Living abroad is to know more. It is to become mature and see a world of possibilities in front of you. It is possible to see that you can do everything you always dreamed of and it seemed so surreal or impossible. You realize that the world is just in front of you and yes you can, know it all. You see your goals changing.
It's changing your mind.
. You have to change your mind every day. Leave behind the little things. You see your mind is more open and you also see yourself open to life.
Do not be afraid to take risks. Put all your faith into practice. Have faith.
It’s accepting constant challenges. It is felt in “Neverland” and do not want to return. You want to go back but you cannot imagine yourself living in the same place again. Living overseas is not only surprising yourself but discover and realize that in fact you didn’t know that you deeply knew something that you have always thought you knew very well: YOURSELF!!
Christopher and the Greenvale Community team
It’s in our blood, in our genes, we just love sports and that’s why the sports project in Jamaica offers a uniqueness you’ll never get elsewhere. Just ask Christopher Senff from Germany who has been volunteering on the sports project in Jamaica since January 2012.
As a footballer volunteering in a track and field season, I guess Christopher couldn’t pass up the offer to join the Greenvale Community Football Team. His German style and energy added additional tactics, and although in Jamaica we love to say “wi likkle but wi tallawah” meaning we are small but strong; Christopher’s 6ft plus and muscular Caucasian powerhouse was welcomed and made an obvious addition to the team.
My first time watching the team was a bright sunny Jamaican afternoon and like a coach in support I yelled from the side lines often being told to ‘step back’ by the lines man. ‘Whitie’, ‘Giant’, ‘German’ were the names I heard being echoed from Chris’ team members to pass a ball to him or inform him of a free player. But the name that stuck the most was ‘(for his Caucasian look). After 90 minutes of hard tackles, inevitable bruises, tiring players, near goal misses, screaming coaches and shouting fans; the teams walked away with a nil all draw. This was a result the team vowed to change. In the next friendly match they returned with a vengeance, correcting the mistakes that were previously made and putting into practice the advice from their coach. The rain that hailed didn’t stop the game, it couldn’t stop the support from the community members and it sure didn’t stop ‘whitie’ from sending the ball twice to the back of the net to secure a 2-nil win for his team.
The supporters roared, suddenly the grey skies were blue, the disappointment from the last match’s results were forgotten, the team was ecstatic - ‘whitie’ had done us proud.
Christopher has since expressed the level of happiness and satisfaction that being on the sports project in Jamaica has brought him and I am convinced that this same kind of satisfaction can be experienced by you. So what are you waiting for? Come be a part of the Jamaican experience.
“Whitie” is a none-racist term that Jamaicans use to refer to persons of Caucasian descent.
From left to right Mazalari (volunteer), Stacy Ann (Project Officer), Mr. Bunting, Jodie (volunteer) Brittany (volunteer) and Percy (professional building project supervisor)
The month of February 2012 heralded the second batch of Projects Abroad one week special volunteers to Jamaica. This time around the all female team put muscle and heart into yet another meaningful project. The Canadian trio of Jodie Carlson, Mazalari Alfazema and Brittany Johnson tossed traditional spring break activities aside and took to delivering on humanitarian efforts.
The one week spring-break special offers potential volunteers the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to a developing country, such as Jamaica. Instead of using their spring-break to do the almost synonymous partying or relaxing associated with spring break the volunteers would spend one week in a country of their choice making an impactful contribution to mankind.
This 2012 spring-break project had slightly recurring themes compared with last year’s project; the dominant theme is that the beneficiary was a senior citizen male who is living way below the poverty line. The girls bravely and assiduously assisted with renovating and decorating the 72 year old Mr. Bunting’s one bed room house that was in a very dilapidated state; the make-shift bed was unsightly and denies any thought of comfort, in the same room his kitchen stood, causing soot to be visible all over the rough walls of the room, the ‘furniture’ was sparse and old and of course the walls void of colour- the decor- dreary and depressed.
The volunteers were moved and got to work immediately- first order of business was to build a step at the entrance of the house, they also thoroughly gave the house a proper scrubbing and painted the interior walls of the little house. The girls assisted with building a small kitchen outside for him to cook in and cleaned up the outdoors for a cleaner and more even look.
And for bonus, because the girls were deeply moved by his poor living condition, they purchased a mattress for him and the bed frame donated by another worker.
Again this venture brought about remarkable change and dramatically improved the life of someone in need.
Thanks guys you have done well!!
Mr. Daley and volunteer instructing students
Written by the Social Manager from a video interview with Mr. Howard Daley- Head of Physical Education at the Bethabara Primary and Junior High School)
After having found a suitable location, Mr. Daley shyly- I guessed feigned peers into the camcorder, we have several laughs and then the interview begins...
“Working with the volunteers is probably one of the best things that has happened to this school.” Profound words from Mr. Daley who momentarily takes a break, from preparing his students for sports day, to talk with me about the partnership between Projects Abroad Jamaica and Bethabara Primary and Junior High School, of course he leaves the preparation to the capable volunteers.
He goes on to explain that the volunteers have offered so much to the school- not only their time, but in some sense their money. Mr. Daley shares that volunteers have left the placement and upon returning home still extends the gesture of kindness by contributing resource items such as football gears, track shoes and those are just a few of the things, he said.
When asked to speak about specific ways in which the volunteers have provided great benefit to the school, he highlighted that teachers are now able to provide more individual tutelage to students, because the volunteers now provide the extra human resource needed. Also the volunteers take the time to share their culture with both the students and faculty. The volunteers continue to have a very good rapport with the students and the staff. He supports this statement by saying he has never had an incident where a volunteer is not liked by a student or teacher.
In response to a question about the growth of the sports project at Bethabara Primary and Junior High School, Mr. Daley pointed out that initially only one volunteer at a given time was placed at the school now he sees where there are two volunteers at a time, he says this is very good considering that the school is understaffed. Also there are volunteers who have played semi-professionally, or played for a youth club back in their homeland who have prime knowledge and skills that benefit the students who play for specialized teams- Mr. Daley says her uses these volunteers to assist with coaching, especially for football. He says this helps with the growth of the various teams, as the knowledge that is passed on is something that money cannot buy.
His final words on the partnership-“Big up to Projects Abroad Jamaica organizers for the work as we benefit greatly and I am hoping that from this moment onwards we can have volunteers every month...”
The journalism project is currently based at the Northern Caribbean University and provides print and radio volunteers the opportunity to observe the day to day operations of both components as well as give assistance where needed and learn new skills in the area.
In total the journalism projects has had fourteen volunteers since the start of the project in February 2011.
The Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Media Group is located on the East Campus; this is in close proximity to the main campus which is located on Manchester Road, Mandeville. Northern Caribbean University is a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) institution founded by the Seventh Day Adventist Union in a bid to foster higher education. Even though the Media Group was officially launched in 2010, the radio and television component has been around for eleven and five years respectively.
The radio station has an island-wide licence and the television station is offered as a program on one of the leading cable companies in Jamaica.
The staff compliment is approximately thirty (30) individuals, who work in the various departments. The staff comprises of video editors, news writers, editors, video and radio producers and presenters.
Mr. Arnold Kelly is the Acting Manager of the Radio Department; he coordinates the general operations of the NCU Media Group and serves as the placement supervisor for the journalism project.
The volunteers will begin by shadowing professional journalists, learning from them and hopefully gaining an insight into the field. The responsibilities will depend on their previous experience, as well as their enthusiasm and level of initiative.
The volunteer will observe and eventually execute video shoots, record programs, and learn editing, also write radio scripts, learn interviewing techniques among other tasks that may be given at the placement supervisor’s discretion.
The volunteers have also been on air, giving interviews about their country and their experience here in Jamaica in the “Around the World” feature one of the productions the volunteers assist heavily with.
Still a very young Project at Projects Abroad Jamaica we hope to see it grow and provide the ideal setting for journalism volunteers.
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