Christmas is almost upon us, and in the spirit of the season, 1000 children from childcare facilities across Jamaica were treated on Saturday to an unforgettable day out organised by the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Digicel Foundation.
Child Development Agency CEO, Carla Edie, said; “Christmas time is family time, but that isn’t possible for children in care. As well as bringing together children from all over the country to meet and make new friends, the day often allows siblings who are in different institutions to reconnect and come together, and lets all the children feel free to play, sing, dance and eat to their hearts content. This is the third year running we have partnered with the Digicel Foundation for the Christmas Fun Day and we are once more so grateful and excited to be able to provide excitement, fun and love to children in care across the country.”
The “Jingle Bell Rock” Children’s Fun Day took place between 10am and 4pm at Digicel’s property on Lady Musgrave Road, and children between the ages of 5 and 17 were brought to the location from over 40 state-run childcare facilities across the 14 parishes.
Chairman of the Digicel Foundation, Lisa Lewis, said; “We are always very excited about laying on a treat for children living in government-run homes who may not have the opportunity to get out very often, which is particularly isolating at Christmas. Our partnership with the CDA is vital; among other things, they provide the bus transport to and from the event, which is often half the excitement for the children. A huge expression of thanks also goes out to all our corporate sponsors whose various services make the day possible.”
The event was sponsored by a host of corporate companies who donated cash, supplies or food, including CGM Insurance, Crazy Jim, Facey Commodity, Grace Kennedy, Jamaica Broilers, Main Event Entertainment Group, the National Bakery, NCB Foundation, Nestle and Wisynco.
After arriving and receiving their exclusive “Jingle Bell Rock” T-shirts, the children were able to enjoy a host of entertainments, activities and even some special celebrity appearances. Traditional fairground rides such as a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, mini train and a trampoline were laid on alongside exciting activities such as such as a bun and bulla eating contest, a lime and spoon race, tug-of-war, crocus bag race and other friendly competitions. The children also got a chance to pose for photos with Santa, have their faces painted and wonder at a magician’s tricks.
The National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica and the Spectacular Dance Troupe got the children moving to the beat, whilst a team from Cufferi Production entertained with Christmas carols, skits and stories, getting everyone into the festive spirit. The whole event was covered with great enthusiasm by the masters of ceremonies, Fay Ellington and Sherando Cupid of Cufferri Production.
The children were also able to meet and mingle with recognisable characters Birdie from Reggae Jammin’, Dora the Explorer, Spiderman and SpongeBob. Special appearances were made by Digicel Brand Ambassadors, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and Jermaine Edwards, along with dancehall artist, Specialist, who laughed and joked with the children, happily posing for pictures and signing autographs.
A team of Digicel volunteers was on hand to ensure the smooth unfolding of the day and to keep everyone enjoying themselves all day long, whilst the Digicel Go Green team attended in order to keep the location clean and to teach all the children important lessons about keeping their environment green and tidy.
The end of the Fun Day came all too soon, and after receiving a special Christmas gift and a snack pack for the journey home, every child left tired but happy.
The 2011 Christmas Fun Day was a fun-filled and remarkable day for children and volunteers alike, and the Digicel Foundation is proud to have partnered with the Child Development Agency for another great year.