It was that time of year again and Kingston was vibrant with the sounds and smells of Christmas. The Optimist Club of Sunset Liguanea was no exception; everyone was finalizing plans for the visit with the children of the Dare to Care children’s home in Spanish town. If you are unfamiliar, Dare to Care is a community home established in late 2000 to provide care to orphans infected by HIV/AIDS. Every year at Christmas, our members visit the home to spend time with the children both at Dare to Care and Mathew 25:40.
Optimist Patrick recalls that “It provided an opportunity for reflection: what vulnerable means, what little control our children have over their circumstances, and what more can be done to improve our country's ability to meaningfully respond to situations such as those which lead to the need for homes like Dare to Care and Mathew 25:40”
On this past visit, approximately 20 members of the Sunset Liguanea club along with 8 puppeteers visited the home for what was planned to be a fun filled afternoon of activities…..there would be cake, puppets, singing and lots of presents brought by you know who.
As is tradition, the club members met across from the police station on the Nelson Mandela highway leaving Kingston. On arrival at the home, the show began with Christmas carols sung by the talented Sunset Liguanea Christmas Choir. Now, its usually the children who entertain the club members before they receive presents but this year the club planned an entire evening to treat the children.
Following the singing, the children were treated to a short break of cake and ice cream and then the real show began. For this year’s extra special treat, the club invited the Swallowfield Chappell Puppet Ministry to perform their Christmas Puppet Show. The show’s interactive setup allowed the children to truly get involved. Both the club members and the kids were enthralled by the show, the puppeteers did an excellent job in telling the Christmas Story and explored how Christmas affected different people.
Of course, what’s Christmas without Santa Clause. Played by our very own Immediate Past President, Joet Powell, Santa Clause came bearing gifts. Each year, the club members of Sunset Liguanea pick the name of a child from the home and on the day of the visit, Santa gives these presents to the eager and very appreciative children.
In addition to the presents for the kids, the club presented the home with a few necessities needed for the children. To end the evening, the club proudly presented the Optimist Youth Code to the administrator of the home.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Kingston, Jamaica – The Optimist Club of Sunset Liguanea took part in the Island’s National Tree Planting day activities on October 5, 2007.
The annual event is organized by the Jamaica Forestry Department, a section of the Ministry of Agriculture, aimed at preserving
Jamaica’s natural resources. Due to the passing of Hurricane Dean, many of the island’s trees were destroyed making this year’s tree planting activities significantly important. A part of the club’s purpose is “to aid and encourage the development of youth in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well being of man, his community and the world.” therefore Friday’s activities of preserving the natural resources of the island for future generations seemed aligned with the clubs objectives.
“Service to children in our organization is paramount but we also wish to contribute to preserving this island we love” says chapter President Latoya Wade. “As our club focuses on the development of Jamaica’s youth, it’s my hope that by planting these trees we will also contribute to the conservation of our counties resources, the same resources that our youth will one day inherit.”
Supplied with seedling from the Forestry Department, Club members from the Sunset Liguanea chapter as well as the newly formed chapter at Holly Childhood High school came together on Friday to plant 4 pink and yellow Poui trees on the schools campus. Although the rain seemed determined on postponing the event, it proved to be advantageous as it aiding in the planning process by making the soil easier to dig and providing well soaked soil for the new seedlings.
Among students in Jamaica, the Poui tree is famous for its “exam time” blossoms. Its said that when the Poui blooms, High School exams are near and its time to study, a sort of reminder to do well by Mother Nature.
The Optimist Club of Sunset Liguanea is a non-profit organization established in 1999 with the main goal of improving Jamaica’s youth and community. The Chapter is one of many on the island that belong to the Optimist International Organization.