Approximately Four Hundred and Forty Four ($CAD 444,000) thousand Canadian dollars was handed over to five (5) residential Child Care facilities on Thursday, June 30 by Executor Miss Gwendolyn Gooding, on behalf of late Sonia McDonald to improve the services offered to children in State care.
Miss McDonald who was born in Jamaica and lived in Canada for many years in her Will requested to give back to the less fortunate; in particular, children in residential child care facilities in Jamaica.
The beneficiaries are Blossom Gardens Nursery and Granville Place of Safety in St. James, St John Bosco Boy’s Home and Mustard Seed Communities’ “Gift of Hope” in Manchester, as well as Maxfield Park Children’s Home in Kingston.
Speaking at the Ceremony, Maureen Scarlett, friend of the deceased donor, said that through Miss McDonald’s generosity and love, she left half of her assets to children in Jamaica, mainly those who are housed in children’s homes.
“Education and health was very important to Miss McDonald, so with this gesture, the welfare of the less fortunate can be improved,” Mrs. Scarlett said.
In her remarks, she lauded the administrative staff and caregivers of children in residential child care facilities, adding that, “I want you to continue to do your best to care for these children, because without caring people like yourselves, the unfortunate among us have no future. Teach them well, love them and let them lead the way,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Child Development Agency, Mrs. Rosalee Gage-Grey in her remarks, conveyed thanks for the donation and gave credit to the work of the late benefactor, Sonia McDonald, in her effort to improve the lives of the less fortunate over the years.
“The work we do in the child protection sector is not possible without collaboration, both locally and internationally. We thank all our benefactors, who have contributed to our facilities and the programmes of the Agency over the years,’ she said.
Giving special recognition to the friends and families in the Diaspora, who have supported the Agency over the years, Mrs. Gage-Grey said the CDA will continue its effort to forge partnerships to assist in providing greater service to children in State care.
“Through this generous donation, our programmes within the homes will definitely be strengthened, and will focus on improving the overall wellbeing of children in the facilities that have benefitted, enabling them to reach their highest potential,” CDA’s CEO said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator, the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that it is act of kindness such as this, that helps us to realize that there are unsung heroes out there, who believes in the future of the less fortunate.
“This is a clear indication that goodness is still happening in Jamaica, because this donation will to a large extent, help to provide quality care for children in State care. Words can’t express how grateful we are for this donation, which is indeed necessary and appreciated,’ Minister Johnson Smith said.
Executive Director at the Mustard Seed Communities, Mrs. Darcy Williams in her closing remarks, thanked the Executor and her team, guests, representatives of the various child care facilities, children, and members of CDA’s Executive Management team and staff, who were in attendance, and made the day possible.
During the Ceremony, a moment of silence was also observed in respect of the deceased donor. The opening prayer was done by Pastor Regmond Fernandez, founder of the Kingdom Life Advancement Ministry in Kingston while Acting Manager at the Maxfield Park Children’s Home in Kingston, Winston Bowen welcomed the audience and emceed the function, which was also capped off with a melodious performance by Saxophonist, Daniel Richards.
The donation was handed over at the Liguanea Club, Bougainvillea Room in Kingston.
Contact: Child Development Agency
Public Relations Unit