As we head into the Christmas season, many children are excited about what they are going to get. The Joy to Your World Essay Contest asks children aged 9-13 to think how they are bringing joy to their world, how they are helping their families, neighbours, communities and how we can all make a difference and make Barbados better.
The goal is to recognize children who are making a difference in their communities, doing acts of kindness, helping others as well as to encourage everyone to think about doing the same, to have empathy, to be generous and giving, to take initiative, to make a contribution and make things better for others.
Twelve-year-old Natanya Weekes who won the top prize last year, said in her winning essay, “We can make Barbados better by encouraging others to stop littering, stop violence and misuse of drugs, stop abusing children and start feeding those who are hungry.”
She believes we must teach youth to be caring and loving, reasoning that if we love our neighbours we will not want to harm them. Wholesome activities such as sports, music, debating and volunteering are activities she feels can steer youth in a positive direction.
In terms of what she personally is doing to help others, Natanya says, “My mother calls me a mother hen because I am always concerned about others. At church I am always helping the little ones to complete their work. I help my teacher at school and at home I help with chores.When my mother is sick, I help her by making breakfast. In my community, there is an after school care for the physically challenged. I donate books and toys for the children and play games and dance with them. I loved the interaction. It made them happy, and it is my greatest joy.”
All the children who participate in the essay contest are recognized at an event called Joy! on Sunday, December 1 at the Searocks Dome in Maxwell. The event is open to the public and features face painting, a photo booth, pony rides, family drum circle, booths, music and food. It will be a fun family day! Prizes are awarded to the top three students and then the event ends with a sunset singalong concert featuring Lil’ Stathis, Faith Callender, Ascending Stars and more special guests.
First time sponsor Managing Director of CGI Peter Harris said, “At CGI we love to support positive initiatives like this that highlight the great things that our children are doing. It’s so important to give them encouragement to be active in their communities.”
Celebrating the fourth anniversary of the contest, organizer Ebonnie Rowe always looks forward to reading the heartfelt essays. “This event is very close to my heart. It’s so touching to see how these children are genuinely passionate about making a contribution, making a difference and being good citizens. It leaves you feeling very positive and optimistic about the future,” he said.
For more information contact: [email protected] (PR)