The Joy to Your World Essay Contest winners were announced last Sunday evening at the Searocks Dome Joy! family event.
In this Christmas season of giving, leading up to Sunday’s event, in a campaign to encourage young children to have empathy, to be generous and to help others, there was a Joy To Your World Essay Competition where the children were asked: “How are you bringing Joy to your World? How are you helping your family, neighbour, community? How can we all make Barbados better?”
All of the children were honoured at the event, each receiving prizes and 3 were selected to receive special recognition.
12 year old Natanya Weekes won top prize which included a Discovery Kids Prize Pak, $400 Scotiabank account, a Wibisco Gift Basket, Chefette party, a family Atlantis Submarine trip, gift bag from the US Embassy, a free eye examination donated by Eye Q Stylist Opticians, a book of Children’s stories written by Lady Roberta Simpson and more. Natanya thinks 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. Joining 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 and 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.”
The other 2 students who placed 2nd and third were 12 year old Naiyah Wurdeman and 10 year old Yohan Foster.
Organizer Ebonnie Rowe said “I’m so inspired by the children’s commitment to being good citizens and positively impacting the lives of others. I am touched every year hearing about how much they care about the environment, the elderly, their school and communities and how passionate they are as such a young age about taking the initiative to do what they can to affect change. It’s also a testament to their parents and the good values they are being brought up with. These are the young people who will shape the future of the nation, and if they continue on this path we will be in very good hands.”
Joy! proved to be a fun family afternoon featuring free face painting by Faces of Colour, Animekon booth, Read for Life Children’s Circle, a drum circle, ending with a Sunset Concert hosted by Caroline “Cici” Reid and featuring the Ascending Stars, John Yarde, Alix Cage, Faith Callender, Toni McIntosh, Dannyele Leslie and Taahirah Mohamed. Nicholas Brancker was spotted in the audience to cheer on his neice who was performing with Ascending Stars.