#Jamaica, November 15, 2017 – Mandeville – Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, has pledged the continued commitment of her organisation to pay the fees for wards in childcare facilities, like Mount Olivet Boys’ Home, who make it to tertiary institutions.
“We have a tertiary-education programme where we give our commitment that every child who matriculates into university, we will ensure that their fees are paid, and so all we say to you boys is, just get into college and we will do the rest,” she said.
Mrs. Gage-Grey was speaking at a church service to mark the 50th anniversary of the home held at the Mount Olivet United Church in Walderston, Manchester, on Sunday (November 12). She highlighted the successes of children in State care, including the more than 70 students currently in tertiary institutions.
She highlighted the six boys from Mount Olivet who are at Knox Community College, and one who is pursuing a degree at the American University in Paris courtesy of the YB Foundation, spearheaded by Olympian Yohan Blake. Mrs. Gage-Grey commended the United Church for its pioneering role in establishing the home, which provides the children with a safe shelter and love.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service and Member of Parliament for North East Manchester where the home is located, Hon. Audley Shaw, expressed his gratitude for the work of the Church in the community and country.
“They are involved in two children’s homes – one here and the other in St. Mary. Not many contemporary, new churches have taken on an abiding and lasting responsibility to help develop our young people,” Mr. Shaw said.
He said the work of the church is very important in addressing what he considers to be the country’s greatest crisis, that of human underdevelopment.
“We have to develop our people. Our greatest natural asset is our people, and if we fail to develop our people, we fail to develop our country. We cannot achieve prosperity without developing people; prosperity begins not in our pockets but in our minds,” Mr. Shaw pointed out.
He cited his own humble upbringing – growing up in close proximity to the boys’ home, and helping his father on the farm and his mother in her shop, to his present status as finance minister – to show the boys that they, too, can achieve in spite of their circumstances. Mr. Shaw made a donation of $100,000 towards a transition fund for the boys, and $50,000 every year henceforth. The fund assists the boys as they prepare to leave the home at age 18.
Mount Olivet Boys’ Home was established with 40 boys on April 20, 1967 on nine acres of land in the cool hills of Walderston by the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and the Presbyterian Church. Boys aged five to 18 years receive loving care in a home setting that also promotes spiritual development, physical and psychological enhancement, social and recreational development, plus academic and vocational development. The boys attend schools in the area, including Holmwood Technical, Mizpah Primary, Christiana High School, Knox College and Spalding High School.
Also in attendance at the service were members of the Atlanta-Jamaica partnership, the YB Foundation and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), which has adopted the home since 2009.