KINGSTON, Nov. 4 (JIS) – Over 300 wards in three children’s homes will directly benefit from gifts obtained under the Guardian Anjell Play and Learn Project.

The homes, one from each county are: the St. John Bosco Boys’ Home in Mandeville (Middlesex); SOS Children’s Village in Montego Bay (Cornwall); and the Jamaica National Children’s Home in Kingston (Surrey).

The initiative, which is the national project for the reigning Jamaica Festival Queen, Anjell Bryan, is being sponsored by LASCO Financial Services and the Guardian Group Jamaica to the tune of $425,000. LASCO is contributing $200,000, with Guardian providing the remainder.

Speaking at the launching ceremony at the offices of Guardian Life in New Kingston today (November 4), Ms. Bryan said the idea for the project came after experiencing the gratitude, joy and sincere appreciation from the children, whose lives have been positively impacted by acts of kindness.

“Guardian Anjell Play and Learn was inspired by experiences from visiting child care institutions (through voluntarism) and I have always been determined to make a difference in whatever way I can to shaping the lives of these children,” she said.

She called on Jamaicans to invest more in the lives of the “creative and talented” wards in state institutions.
“Our collective donation will make each child continue to feel loved, appreciated, special and valuable to society,” she said, adding that the handing over of the gifts will be done in a fun and celebratory environment.

Executive Director, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, informed that since the introduction of the national project aspect of the Festival Queen competition, there have been several innovative ventures.

He noted that with the onset of the Christmas season, the project will serve to brighten the lives of the children.
Manager, Public Relations and Communications, Child Development Agency (CDA), Prudence Barnes, said the initiative is timely and will assist in providing well needed items for the children.

She extended gratitude to Ms. Bryan and the JCDC for conceptualising and implementing such a “creative and visionary” initiative.

“We commend you for the interest you have taken in the lives and well being of Jamaica’s most vulnerable children and for using the platform that you have been given to make a positive difference to them and to the nation as a whole,” she said.

She informed that while the Government spends approximately $2 billion on child care state facilities each year, partnerships such as the Guardian Anjell Play and Learn Project are welcomed.

The Guardian Anjell Play and Learn Project invites individuals, from public and private entities, service clubs, among others, to create gift packages, which will be donated to the children. Gift packages may include toiletries, games, books, school supplies, toys, among other items.

Each gift will be labelled to indicate the gender of the child as well as the age group for which it is best suited.

The first phase of the project will see gifts being collected for the period November 4 to December 6, 2014 and distributed in the homes on Saturday,
December 13, 2014.

The second phase of the project will run in May 2015 in tandem with Child’s Month and National Reading Week. The collection period will be from March 2 to

April 30, 2015 and the distribution of gifts will take place on May 30, 2015.

Persons may drop off gifts at the JCDC’s corporate office on 3-5 Phoenix Avenue or parish offices, as well as Guardian Life branches island-wide.

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