Fri | Feb 26, 2021

Samaritans add colour to Christmas in children’s homes

Published:Thursday | December 24, 2020 | 12:18 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
From left: Amashika Lorne, principal director of Amashika & Associates Limited, looks through of the colouring books with Factories Corporation of Jamaica Chairman Lyttleton Shirley; Jamaica College student Joshua Grey, founder of Joshau’s Advocated Prog
From left: Amashika Lorne, principal director of Amashika & Associates Limited, looks through of the colouring books with Factories Corporation of Jamaica Chairman Lyttleton Shirley; Jamaica College student Joshua Grey, founder of Joshau’s Advocated Program; and Eunice Scott-Shaw, director for alternative care services at the CPFSA. The occasion was yesterday’s handover of 100 colouring books for wards of five children’s homes in the Corporate Area.

The Christmas season has been brightened for 100 children between six and 12 years old in Corporate Area children’s homes with the donation of several copies of a local colouring book and supplies.

The book, Chat Tu Mi & Colour, includes 20 ­drawings depicting Jamaican landmarks, customs, ­traditions, and cultural icons and takes it a step further to carefully pair the drawings with a Jamaican ring game, riddle, or proverb.

The donation was made under the Let’s Get Colouring campaign, which was launched to combat child stress and anxiety.

In a handover ceremony to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) on Wednesday, Amashika Lorne, principal director of Amashika & Associates, revealed that wards at Reddies, Maxfield Park, Glenhope Nursery, and The Nest would be the beneficiaries.

“Having seen the data coming out of the recent UNICEF and CAPRI study on how children are being affected by COVID-19 in Jamaica, I thought about what I could do because I’m a solution-oriented person,” Lorne told The Gleaner.

The study revealed that children were experiencing a 63 per cent increase in boredom and a 23 per cent increase in anxiety and sadness.

“My parents had produced a colouring book when I was a little girl, so I was just building on that legacy. I wanted it to be a durable and exciting project for children,” Lorne said of the colouring book she launched last year.

The campaign will continue into 2021, targeting vulnerable groups across Jamaica.

CPFSA director for alternative care services, Eunice Scott-Shaw, expressed gratitude for the donation, noting that it had “a lot of teaching experiences”.

“They will enjoy reading it and enjoy colouring it because colouring is a therapeutic experience. It stabilises the mind and allows you to think. For children with behavioural problems, we use art therapy, and it helps them,” she said.

Scott-Shaw added that the book would also help to educate children about Jamaican culture and expressions they may not have been exposed to, particularly for children who have not had the privilege of interacting with their grandparents.

Factories Corporation of Jamaica was the largest donor, and Chairman Lyttleton Shirley said they were quick to support the initiative.

“Our business is providing space. In so doing, we also provide human capital, and what better way to provide the genesis of human capital by supporting this great initiative of stimulating the minds of young people with this wonderful book,” Shirley shared.

Joshua Grey, the youngest donor and founder of Joshua’s Advocacy Program, noted that he backed the project because of his passion for helping children.

“It is good to support children in homes or without parents because without a good home feeling, these children can be led to a life of crime. and I don’t want that to happen,” the 13-year-old Jamaica College student said.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com