PRESS RELEASE: Students Rewarded for Good Deeds in The Season of Joy!

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The Joy to Your World Essay Contest winners were announced last Sunday evening at the Searocks Dome Joy! family event.

In this 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 and 3 were selected to receive special prizes.

Top prize winner Aijah Robinson with Joy! Producer Ebonnie Rowe.

11 year old Student Aijah Robinson won top prize which included a $500 Scotiabank account, a tablet, Wibisco Gift Basket, Chefette party, a family Atlantis Submarine trip, a Yello pencil case, a free eye examination donated by Eye Q Stylist Opticians and a book of Children’s stories written by Lady Roberta Simpson.  She helps the elderly by assisting them with errands, does recycling, volunteers as schools Slow Foods garden, helps the teacher at school by cleaning the board and writing out the lesson plan, shares her lunch/lunch money with classmates who may not be able to afford a meal that day, answered the hurricane appeal by putting together hampers, taking toys to needy children, received award for most outstanding Brownie, helped her mother when she had an accident and couldn’t use her right hand, wrote a book called First Fears to help small children conquer their first day fears of going to a new school.

Aijah was thrilled with her prizes and said that it takes a lot of discipline to achieve all of her goals.  “I am proud to now be an ambassador for an organization who promotes sharing, love and joy towards our fellow man. We are all winners and Joy! Barbados gives us a platform to be recognized for our achievements.”

Her mother Rhonda Robinson was bursting with pride “I am elated and thankful at this very moment. As a parent, the type of values and discipline which we instill into our child or children, act as a contributing factor towards their outputted success. Organizations such as Joy! Barbados helps to bring recognition to our innovative and talented youth. You are a credit to Barbados and for that I want to commend and encourage you to keep the good work up. The event was amazing!”

The other 2 prizes were awarded to 11 year old Lattrell Browne who helps other students with homework, helps in the school garden, belongs to the Environmental Club and gives flowers and vegetables to other schools and people in the community as well as Salvation Army, and 9 year old Mathiew Carrington who breaks up fights at schools and is trying to stamp out bullying in his school.

AA Top 3 Essay Winners with Host Caroline Reid, Producer Ebonnie Rowe and Rhonda Robinson, parent of first place winner Aijah Robinson.

Donnah Russell, Executive Director of the Variety Club was invited to bring children to the event as invited guests.  “We are grateful for the partnerships that we form with other organizations and events like “Joy!”.  In the spirit of “it takes a village” we are mindful that we cannot always achieve our goals alone.  The invitation to children and their parents from Ebonnie Rowe to attend Joy! is appreciated and a great start to the holiday celebrations for children who might not otherwise have this privilege. The families enjoyed themselves immensely.  We’d also like to say thanks to Sanojah’s who donated refreshments for the children.”

Organizer Ebonnie Rowe said “I’m so inspired by the children’s commitment to being good citizens and positively impacting the lives of others.  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.  This is just the 2nd year we are doing this and I’m pleased to see the event growing and thriving.”

Joy! Proved to be a fun family afternoon featuring free face painting by Lana Jones, Read for Life Children’s Circle, a drum circle, ending with a Sunset Concert hosted by Caroline Reid and featuring the Mustard Seed Kids, Jaicko, Kenyah Joseph, Chia Scantlebury and Nikita & Family.

Headliner Nikita, fresh from performing at the Rihanna Drive Naming Ceremony, was in full support of the contest and show.  “”What can I say about Joy? It’s amazing! I loved it from the very beginning when Ebonnie brought the concept to me and asked me to be involved. It’s affordable, it’s Christmas, it’s for the kids, the initiative is inspiring so I was on board!   I am happy to support anything like this that is positive, developmental and for the youth.  As long as I am available I’ll try to do it every year with my family and make it a tradition. I was very moved when I heard of the great things these young children are doing who wrote in for the Essay Contest.  We need more wholesome family events like this.  It’s always a fun time and I encourage everybody to come out next year. It was fantastic!”

Nikita surrounded by the Mustardseed Kids.

​Varia Williams, Managing Director of Mustardseed Productions Inc. says ” The Joy initiative is a great! especially around Christmas time, and the Mustardseed Kids are very happy to be a part of the event. It is important for them, and important for us to reinforce to them what Christmas is really about. It’s about sharing and giving and loving; sharing joy with everybody. So we were very happy to participate in the event.  It also made us stop and think, because when I asked them what Christmas meant to them, I suppose most of them would have said presents first and then we really stopped and unwrapped that, until we really came back to joy. I really want to Thank Ebonnie and her team for giving us that.”

Jaicko Lawrence who performed for the children said: “My first impression was ‘Joy’, just walking in and seeing all of the kids. Honestly I didn’t know much about it until I actually got here but I get it, it’s one of those things where you have to come and witness it. To see the kids performing, dancing, singing, having a good time, it reminds me of when I was a kid, that’s great to see”.

Gillian Rowe of Read for life with Chia Scantlebury, one of the 2016 Essay Contest Winners. Photo credit: A3KD Inc.

One of the exhibitors, the Read for Life Organization, was represented by Gillian Rowe who said “Joy is a complete family event and Read For Life was happy to be involved again to display great children’s books, play literacy games and have interactive reading sessions with the children. Joy = Funtimes!”

Head over to Facebook for a full album of photos from the event.

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An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.