Staff members from the Goddard Enterprises Ltd (GEL) head office and a number of students from the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School recently set out to bring cheer to the residents at the St Barnabas Senior Citizens Centre.
Armed with instruments, the students, including some members of the school band and some from the school’s music programme, serenaded the elders. First, they performed a series of solos and then joined the chorale to sing favourites like Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful, and Silent Night among others. The school’s Guidance Counsellor Julia Edey explained that the visit was a way for the students to contribute to the community and was also part of the Schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme which requires them to perform good deeds within the school and the wider neighbourhood. “This is the perfect opportunity for the students to show love and care to the seniors as their neighbours and to share talent with them and bring Christmas joy,” she added.
Deputy Principal of the Parkinson Memorial School Steven Scott, who also moved the opening prayer, brought Christmas greetings from the Principal, teachers and students while Glenda Gilkes, Group Human Resources Manager at GEL, whose idea it was to visit the seniors, explained that the staff came to share with those who stop by the Centre daily.
The facility celebrated its 35th anniversary in September and presently caters to 34 seniors (men and women). It provides them with an opportunity for companionship and offers craft sessions, devotions and bible study, line dancing and other exercises for those who can do them in a friendly environment.
Centre Supervisor Vanessa Watts explained that they commemorate special occasions like Mother’s and Father’s Day, Valentines and Easter with various activities. Adelle Harewood, mother of Rector Mark Harwood, also plays an integral role in the Centre’s activities. They both agreed that the carol singing would help seniors remember Christmases past which would help to enhance their memories especially those suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s. The seniors also shared memories of their own Christmases of yesteryear when village musicians moved around the communities singing and playing various instruments to the delight of everyone.
In explaining why the GEL group got involved in the visit, Glenda Gilkes explained, “Following our adoption of the Parkinson School earlier this year, we wanted to participate in a community activity that spread the Christmas cheer and since our office is located so close to the St. Barnabas Centre, we jumped at the opportunity to do this with the children.” All the staff members who attended agreed that it was a most worthwhile exercise and they are looking forward to doing it again.”
In addition to the Deputy Principal, the students were accompanied by music teachers Randy Eastmond and Mylon Clarke – a recent past graduate of Parkinson who is now back teaching and is also a well-known name in Jazz music circles.
The event may become an annual affair as the Coordinator of the Centre has already booked the group for Christmas 2019. (PR)