Month of celebrating children begins

| 07/05/2018
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Austin Harris and Teresa Echenique present Zolla Jones with a laptop and a plaque

(CNS Local Life): The Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) Child Month 2018 observances, themed “Rise Up and A.f.f.i.r.m” (Acknowledge, Friend, Favour, Influence, Respect, and Motivate our children), began with a church service at Church of God Chapel on Walkers Road, Sunday, 29 April.

The attendees included Governor Anwar Choudhury, Councillors Barbara Connolly for Education and Austin Harris for Community Affairs, George Town MLA Kenneth Bryan, Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique, DCFS Director Felicia Robinson and staff, as well as children from Maples House and the Children and Youth Services Foundation.

Robinson spoke of the community’s collective responsibility in valuing and supporting children, stated a press release. She called on adults to model for children respectable relationships, how to deal with conflict, how to manage success and failure and how to appreciate that compassion and empathy are not weaknesses but essential building blocks of character and human greatness.

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DCFS Director Felicia Robinson

She also announced Zolla Jones as the Child Month 2018 Award recipient. Robinson commended the 14-year-old, who is Cayman Prep and High School’s Key Club president, for embodying the spirit of the award, citing the student’s extensive voluntary service accomplishments and strong academic standing.

Jones, who was chosen to address the United Nations General Assembly in March during a Model United Nations conference in New York, has undertaken 156 hours of recorded voluntary work since last September. The Year 9 pupil was presented with a laptop computer by Harris and a plaque by the chief officer.

In her acceptance speech, Jones thanked the department for the honour and gave special acknowledgement to her former Information Communications Technology teacher and the school’s Key Club advisor, Allison Smith, for her continued support.

She said she accepted the award “on behalf of the many young people who volunteered locally” and urged others to similarly combine academic endeavour with community service.

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Darryl Hill, with sons Noah (left) and Malcolm attended the service

Choudhury congratulated this year’s award recipient and encouraged young people to invest in their communities while keeping informed about humanitarian issues beyond our shores.

The event included a pre-service performance by Triple C School’s Steel Breeze pan band headed by Earl La Pierre. The Child Month service was also notable for the prominent role played by children throughout, who included the master of service D’Vonte Joseph, the Vessels of Workship dance group and the Youth Praise Choir.

Pastor Alson Ebanks gave closing remarks and a benediction to conclude the service.

For further details of Child Month events, go to the DCFS Facebook page or website, or email DCFS

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Category: Youth

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