Central Jamaica, May 04, 2021 - On Sunday, May 02, 2021, the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC), in collaboration with WHEEL ambassadors from the United Kingdom, launched a virtual education initiative that is set to benefit several residents from three inner-city communities in Spanish Town, St Catherine, where the Conference currently operates.
The CJC instituted the kindness initiative after the team assessed the needs of community members from Huckaby, Frazer’s Content, and McKoy Gardens. “We entered the areas and engaged residents in meaningful conversations about their needs”, said Dr Vilroy McBean, WHEEL’s Development Officer, as he shared the inspiration behind the major undertaking. “After the assessment, we were able to conceptualise an effective idea to address the needs of the residents, which resulted in the birth of the virtual academy”, he added.
So far, more than eighty residents have expressed interest in becoming a student of the virtual campus, with ten being selected to participate in a pilot. The action team, which comprises Adventists from Jamaica and the UK, are on the move to make a positive difference in the lives of residents from the three stigmatised communities. According to Dr McBean, the majority of residents have indicated that they need assistance to go back to school to acquire CSEC subjects, “We have established the academy to give folks a second chance to realise their dream and our team members from the UK are equipped with the required resources to administer various courses online”, he commented.
Educators and instructors from the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom will be a part of the team that will administer lessons, assessments, guidance, and empowerment activities during the sessions. Also, the highly qualified team will assist in alleviating some of the challenges that local teachers currently experience during online teaching and learning processes, as they intend to address issues including internet connectivity to ensure that students gain access to the campus.
The initiative, funded by CJC’s WHEEL programme, will focus on education as a crucial pillar of transforming communities using the spiritual and physical resources available to the Church in CJC. The Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust and the Willowdene Group of Schools online platforms will be utilised to assist in executing the initiative. The benefits will include improved education, exposure to career guidance, knowledge of international education structures, cultural exchange, job and travel opportunities.
Since 2015, many Jamaicans have benefited from the WHEEL Fund, which has been transforming lives and impacting communities across CJC (and beyond) through Welfare, Health, Education, Empowerment and Local Community initiatives. The establishment of the virtual academy signals that the Adventists are committed to assisting needy Jamaicans through acts of kindness in keeping with this year’s theme, “Each One, Help One, In 2021”. Once again, the Church in Central Jamaica has indicated that they are on the move for God by reaching out to the less fortunate and helping to make a change in communities across the Central Jamaica Conference.