"Creativity is especially expressed in the ability to make connections, to make associations, to turn things around and express them in a new way." --Tim Hansen. @ the Allen-Shaw Foundation, Inc Resource District, Jamaica (Allen-Shaw Reading Room) Photos byLatoya Wakefield-Author Paula Shaw Literacy JA
I...love libraries. I love the hybrid quality, the new computer sections and the books yellowing with age. Libraries for me have always had a cathedral-like ambiance, a hushed sanctuary where learning is revered, where we the people elevate books and education to the level of the religious. “ Harlan Coben, “Dont Let Go”
“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”-Roald Dahl
Resource District, Jamaica-For Years Ms. Blossom along with others like Andrea Partylikeastar Solomon and myself cater to the needs of our community. Our paths rarely cross during these events due to the timing. So I was happy to be around when Ms. Blossom had her event. Neither rain, a changed date, nor a foot injury (Ms. Blossom) prevented this annual treat for the children. The wires at the feet of the dancing children had me worried but thank God for pubescent agility and the intensity of the Breadfruit Dance! Never underestimate the power of a caring act and how it impact lives! For the New Year we ask for your support of the community teams that supports the community for the sake of the Community!
Murray Mountains, St. Ann-Widows Mite (Part 2 New Years)-The neatly made beds with the colorful quilts drew me and I couldn’t resist running my palm over it. The same palm lovingly massaged the tummy of one of the babies lying in the nearby crib. It was heartbreaking as it was reassuring to him and to my soul as I convinced myself that I somehow transferred my love to him. He squirmed closer into my palm, maybe to soak up more of my heart that I was trying to pour into him. W...e left donations of personal care items, activity and reading books. They were equally excited for the 39 inch television brought for the children and the staff by Judy Russell for their general area.
My Father, before his passing last May, received medical supplies that proved to be beneficial to the home and I was happy to donate them in his memory. On our way back down the mountain we ran into a car on the pencil thin road that could not reverse. As the hilarity of the situation lighten our emotions from our experiences at the home, in the end the solution was simply this: we reversed as he drove forward and when the forward driver came to a wider let in the road, he pulled over, and we pulled forward and drove pass him, still in reflective laughter mode. Lesson Learned-Life has a reverse in the acts of charity performed on the behalf of others. The Home takes care of 20 severely disabled children/adults and they need the simplest of items, bibs, diapers, chucks (bed lining), children movies, clothing, etc. Ask us how to help! Rohan Mitchell
Murray Mountains, St. Ann-Widows Mite (Part 1 New Years Eve)-Sometimes soldiers cry! They have to. The battlefield of life is displayed in front of them with weapons of adversity blowing up right next to them. Soldiers cry! Their legs shake. They get weak when life in its brokenness is splayed out in forms which shouldn’t be. Ava, Mark and I entered a battlefield that we were not prepared for. Children with major medical and life altering issues plus developmental issues wer...e waiting for us. They heard we had gifts. We were greeted by the friendliest host in pink. Her beautiful microcephalic face was all smiles. She hugged us like long lost friends. Sheldon although unsteady on his feet was determined to help Mark with the box of goodies. Especially since he was hoping it was ice cream! He envelopes you with his conscience searing hugs! I don’t want to talk about what we saw inside, not yet...But as Ava said “Mark you should have come inside, all the way...” and him replying “Nooo you came out after dropping off one box- shaken with a look of total bewilderment and on the verge of tears ! How would it look fi a big man fi start bawling?!” I saw Ava trying to hold back her tears so we bid our goodbyes after handing out our goodies and after tons of hugs. Sheldon’s hugs just wraps you up. Reversing out of the gate, the damn broke as pretty in pink followed with her pink kitty toy, waving a brilliant smiling goodbye. I don’t have the words to tell you about...to even find the sentences to string together to tell you what I am trying to describe. Ava tears broke down the wall in my soul but I had to plug it. Because if I didn’t I would drown on dry land. I didn’t make it pass boot camp. I’m just not a soldier. But I would gladly pull a trigger on the Evil that interrupts the lives of children...(to be continued) Judy Russell Rohan Mitchell
Central Village, Spanish Town Rock of Ages Helping Center Community Treat-In the end it was the warmth of the community that stayed with us. We fell in love with the children and probably would have stolen a few of them if it wasn’t against the law. There was one that stood out, I named her “Queen of the Day”. She had a personality that could rule a castle. She was a tough lovable cookie. When we were preparing to leave the kids came out to say their goodbye’s. Our hearts broke as our favorite little Queen broke down in tears. Hurrying to her side I assured her that we will see her again so she perked up, especially when her new friend Rohan Mitchell comforted her. It was truly a Blessing to share such joy with these warm and loving children.
Central Village, Spanish Town Rock of Ages Helping Center Community Treat (Part 4)- We waited for her at the Welcome sign in front of a basic school. She was out getting ice cream for the kids and I was wondering if the ice cream could survive the trip in the close-to-Kingston heat. It was brutal! A taxi pull up along side us and out came a blur of burgundy. Sharon Bennett, Director of Rock of Ages Helping Center, a community initiative in honor of her Parents, burst out in ...full energy mode. Instant warmth and welcome emanated from her. “Helping” is the perfect description. Her parents house is right next to the center. And we were off to the location of the Treat! And her energy was nonstop throughout the day. She took care of everyone who attended the event. Her plans for her center is big because you need “big” to move mountains to create pathways. Marcia Forrest had the pleasure of working with her on a 1-day workshop for the community with funding from the foundation. The needs are many so we are working towards addressing solutions to many of the prevalent social ills that stunts growth. “Always have a willing hand to help someone, you might be the only one that does.”
Central Village, Spanish Town Rock of Ages Helping Center Community Treat (Part 3) Charity is exhausting work and your heart needs patience and a whole lot of love. @avagay charoum osborne and Rohan Mitchell are the Allen-Shaw Foundation, Inc. dive-in-the-ditch foot soldiers. They are dedicated and always ready to lend a hand. Ava and I have some adventures-in-charity stories for you...Rohan aka Mark found his hands full with the children on this run. They loved him. His Daddy training was in full effect! They both “Help others without any reason and give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.” I can’t thank them enough!!
Central Village, Spanish Town Rock of Ages Helping Center Treat Day. (Part 2)-Our super willing assistant for the day Mallory introduced the kids to the Virtual Reality world of Dinosaur hunting, motor cross racing and roller coaster rides. Just imagine the excitement!!
Central Village, Spanish Town (Part 1)-We always want to go where the need is! This year we partnered with the Rock of Ages Helping Center in Spanish Town to have a treat for the children of the community. What strikes you first is the genuine warmth and big personalities of the children.
Wishing all of our supporters the best of everything as the New Year approaches. Let all the goodness of life seep into the cracks of your existence and seal it with many Blessings!!
The Passing Of Warren (Gussy) Bailey-It has taken me a few days to find my voice after I heard of your passing. The space you occupied when you came on board to be part of the legacy of the Allen-Shaw Foundation, Inc. is now filled with a sacred reading light. When the Allen-Shaw Reading Room opened in 1997, in the small space of the local Adventist church, you were there to unload books and pack them on the newly built shelves. Cramped as it was, you joined in with pleasur...e.
Like words on the page of a book, you will always live in our consciousness. The gentleness of your Spirit, the special silent language you spoke with your hands and your eyes, will forever be remembered. Right now the books miss your presence like I do. They and I will know you are gone because the physical you will no longer grace us. Yet your essence will continue to swirl in the air. It will coat each shelf like the rich dust that the wind stirred up, gently resting on the spine of the books you tended. We the patrons and friends of the Allen-Shaw Foundation, Inc,/Allen-Shaw Reading Room do not have the vocabulary to communicate how jealous we are of the arms of the universe that is now holding you. Sleep in Peace our Gentle Friend. We await the dramatic ending from the novel of this life when eternity erases this history and make it new again.
It has taken me a few days to open up your book of life to the page where you are walking into a new chapter where I cannot follow you. Sleep on in Peace my sweet friend Gussy!!
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“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. "Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”― Malala Yousafzai