When Amanda, one of our newest board members, rolled on the ACE board this year to serve, the first thing she and her husband, Digger, requested to do was to provide Summer School for our Second Story students in the Child Sponsorship Program.
I have never seen our students so excited as I did this summer, as I watched our eager teenagers coming early each day to attend class. You see, Amanda, Digger and their team of teachers have a unique way of teaching topics that make anyone want to learn. And learning is exactly what these students did. Amanda put an entire mystery together for the students to figure out how to find the thief who stole Ms. Shirley’s cookbook.
Even Mr. Moncrieffe had fun! Every day as I passed him leaving in the parking lot, he just shook his head with a big smile and said, “Wow! What a great day. I’m learning so much about making subjects fun for students. We hope this is just the beginning.”
Thank you to Amanda and her team and to all for investing in this wonderful 30-year-old ministry called ACE — where the learning never stops and we always find the fun!
Always grateful for you,
Marla and Allen
We all know what this time of year looks like for most of the U.S., but in Jamaica, it’s pretty much the same day in and out. Until the Child Sponsorship parents started thinking about the day in December. A few years ago, ACE began asking the sponsors of our 200+ students to consider sending ACE a monetary gift for their child so we could purchase something small in remembrance of the holiday and throw a festive Christmas party for the sponsored children. We are so happy to continue that tradition.
Yesterday, Amber went shopping and came back with what looked like a sleigh full of goodies. It’s amazing how far your donations go to provide wonderful gifts for the children. Some of you may be saying, “Well, I could have bought my child a gift and sent it versus sending in funds.” That is correct, but our past seems to define our present decisions in this area. Let’s face it – Americans think bigger is better rather than simple is sensational. We were receiving cameras, bikes, full clothing outfits, and stuffed animals the size of a car (not really, but close), but this way provides each child with a simple expression of kindness and a moment to know that they are all loved and cared for by you, their sponsors.
As we prepare for that big holiday, we certainly don’t want to forget to be thankful for all of you. Thanksgiving is such a great time for reflection. We attached a card we sent out to a few of you. You may wonder what that yellow stuff is on the front of the card – it’s not popcorn! Those are Scotch Bonnet peppers from our farm with boots of our farm employees, boots that a great family donated to our staff earlier this year. With that, we say Happy Thanksgiving! We are all so grateful for each of you and what you continually do for all of us Stateside and on the ground in Jamaica.
Blessings from all of us!
This week, Dr. Marie, a Board Member for ACE, gave her time and talent to begin the basic teaching structure for our new school. Everything starts with a vision of what can happen when great minds come together. These stickies are a picture of what the beginning of needs look like for our new school. Don’t strain your eyes, as we will be publishing a list of those needs for the school so it will be more readable. Pray that we get the land we have our eye on adjacent to the Campus that ACE desperately needs.
This year, ACE’s PE program is off to a very active start! Some of you may remember helping Coach at Water Valley as he conducted all six grades of PE twice a week.
This year, Coach is leading the PE for Water Valley – and our new school, Mason Hall Primary – with help from Ms. Kesha Russell, our Educational Administrator, and Digger, our stateside expert on PE development and trainer for our ground staff. We have coordinated the entire required curriculum from the Ministry of Education for each grade to coincide with the practical, and we are happy to report that the students love it!
Coach recorded his first week of activities for you to see how the movement is working. Remember the electric slide? Well, this is the Jamaican version.
Good job, Coach and Kesha, and thank you, Digger! Keep on moving!
Many times I come across skeptics when they are visiting ACE in Jamaica who share with me the reason they “don’t” sponsor children “anywhere” in the world.
Where does “my” money go?
Is the child getting my letters?
If I come “there”, can I see them?
All I can say is yes, yes and all of the money goes towards the child!
That sounds incredible doesn’t it? It’s true, just ask any of our 200 sponsors who regularly write letters, send monthly support and visit their wonderful child in their homes.
Now, there are some risks involved in sponsoring an ACE child.
Risk #1 – You might fall in love with him or her.
Risk #2 – You might spend more money than you anticipated as the child grows into a better place of literacy, and living
Risk #3 – You might get a phone call after some time that your child’s parent is not fulfilling their commitment to keep your child eligible for sponsorship and is being dropped from the program or for some other reason that just doesn’t make sense to us in middle class America.
Risk number three is a hard one. We feel that our children are as special as the many friends and families that support them. We also have a commitment that our sponsors are as valued as our children. We have to be honest even when the story stinks. If you are some of the sponsors that have been through this, we understand and appreciate what you are doing to make a difference in Jamaica and for sticking with us even through the bumps in the road.
Some of you have been blessed to sponsor the same child for years and can see the changes and the smiles and the growth. We would love to share your stories and pictures on Facebook with the others that are still thinking about the risks.
Living on the edge is a good thing, and more often than not, the results are life-changing.
The students march in a straight line from their classroom down to the paved court. As they get closer, they strain to see what activities they will be participating in today. When they see the ropes and bucket and mats, they can hardly contain their excitement– Some even have to be reined in by their teacher! Eagerly, they walk over and chorus in the way only Jamaican children can: “Good morning Sir!” This is the opening scene for PE at Water Valley every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
The faculty and teachers are excited to be partnered with ACE again to provide PE for the students. In an effort to encourage the parents to purchase the PE gear, ACE offered to match half the cost of the uniforms. To say that has been a success is an understatement! Each morning, it is a sight to behold all the students decked out in their blue gear.
After warming up by doing laps around the court, the students are eager to participate in the activities for the day. But, before they begin, they have to tell Coach what the objective is. From grade 1 to 6, they are all able to answer: “Team work!” In the game “Diminishing Squares”, the students huddled together while trying not to topple over with laughter as Coach removed square after square! It is no question that the students at Water Valley are not only enjoying PE but are also learning to work together as a team. The students respectfully follow the instructions of Coach, who ensures that they have fun while learning. Truly, when the team works, the dream works.