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Minister for State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner brought remarks and cut the ribbon with President & CEO Jack Butorac of Marco’s Pizza at the Official Opening at the Solomon Spring’s Plaza, Wednesday, December 2.
Nathaniel Hart is the first winner in a five-week "Livin' Large" promotion hosted by Coca-Cola and Wendy's. This campaign provides Wendy's patrons an opportunity to win weekly $500 cash prizes by simply upgrading value meals to large combos. Those who enter are also eligible to win a VIP trip for four on Jet Blue to New York City. Pictured left to right are Yolanda Pawar Marketing Manager, Wendy's Bahamas/Marcos Pizza presenting Nathaniel Hart with a $500 cash prize.
It's easy to take family, friends and seeing the ones you love whenever you want for granted and to assume they will always be there, but for the hundreds of youngsters living in children's homes around the country this is not a privilege they often have. But five students in the Wendy's and Coca Cola "Bright Minds, Bright Futures" (BMBF) scholarship program got to see first hand why it is important to appreciate all that they have.
The scholarship recipients who are always reminded to be civic-minded, took time out from their lives recently to lend a helping hand at a recent Children's Homes Fun Day at the Adventure Learning Center, put on by the corporate sponsors that have afforded them their private school educations. The Wendy's and Coca-Cola sponsored event brought together children from The Children's Emergency Hostel, the Ranfurly Home, The Nazareth Center, Elizabeth Estates Children's Home and Bilney Lane was one the BMBF scholars won't forget anytime soon.
"I was really proud to be out there with other young people who are just like me but not as fortunate," said scholarship recipient Paige Davis who attends St. John's College. "It was different to know that so many young people don't live with their families as I do and I definitely learnt a life lesson in that it's important to be grateful and generous to those around you."
Davis who has been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and it cannot pump blood effectively) last year said for her lending a hand at the fun day was a way for her to show her appreciation for her health. She said she was also grateful for her scholarship which allows her to receive a private school education, and her family which she said is easy to take for granted.
"It meant a lot to me to be able to help out to make this day a success," she said.
St. Anne's School tenth grade student Van Johnson said it's always think about himself and how hard he has to work to achieve things in life -- particularly good grades, but during the fun day, he said he learned more than ever that it is better to give than to receive. Van was responsible for taking the photographs and helping to set up the games.
"It was fun to see the kids from the homes have fun and just enjoy their time together. It also amazed me how easy and cool it is to make someone else smile and have fun. I got to walk around as Spiderman for a short while and it was really nice. The kids really liked it. I would definitely would look forward to doing more activities like this [because] everything is not about books."
Aquinas College BMBF eighth grade student, Raychard Ferguson, said it meant a lot to him to be able to help others in need for Raychard Ferguson.
The 13-year-old scholarship recipient said the day made him appreciate his scholarship even more. The day was even more special to him because it was his first time at Adventure Learning Center before.
His mother Vinalisa Ferguson was proud to see that her son's scholarship pushes him to be well-rounded, and not just academically brilliant.
"[Raychard's] usually so reserved and focused that he doesn't get out to do things like this, so I am glad that the scholarship not only asks him to be on top academically but also more civic minded. It's even more encouraging that it provides ways for him to get out there in the communities. It makes me proud to see him out there," she said.
Anita Williams, an eighth grade student at St. Augustine's College remembered how proud she was to receive her scholarship. As a result, the 12-year-old said she happily does what she can to help others have a chance to be happy as well.
For 17-year-old Shannie (name changed) who lives at the Ranfurly Home for Children, one of the 200-plus children at the fun day, the trip to the Adventure Learning Center was a homecoming of sorts as it was her third visit to the camp. She also got to see the many people who helped raise her over the years and the many friends she's made in the different homes.
"It's a big family get together for me. I'm grateful," she said.
On the other hand, the day was a treat for children like 12-year-old Jamaal (name changed) who resides at the Children's Emergency Hostel. It gave him the opportunity to see his older brother who lives at the Ranfurly Home for Children. The last time he saw him was during the Christmas period.
It is important for 13-year-old Keisha (name changed) to see her three younger siblings who don't live with her at the Elizabeth Estates Children's Home. They are split between the Nazareth Center and the Children's Emergency Hostel.
Whenever she gets to see them, the second oldest of five siblings said she is always surprised to see how big and smart the little ones get. And she said it often hurts to know that she isn't there for them when they need her. But events like the fun day really help her to catch up with her family and make sure they are faring well wherever they are.
"Besides looking our for my siblings, the train ride and the planetarium experience was nice. I really had fun and I hope to do it again with them."
Yolanda Pawar-Bain, marketing manager for Wendy's and Marcos Pizza was glad that 200 children from the homes got to see their family member and that the scholarship students got the opportunity to prove that they were more than brains and books.
"Most people don't realize that many children within these homes are separated within the homes due to age and available accommodations. They don't get a lot of time in their regular routine to bond and have fun together as family, so this event was organized as an effort to bring them together to give them a day of fun and family. And in addition we brought out the children from our 'Bright Minds, Bright Futures' scholarship program who are volunteering and working," she said.
Pawar-Bain she the BMBF children learned to see that life is more than just about doing well academically.
" It's a good thing to see them lending a hand and seeing why they should be appreciative of the many things they have in life. It was impressive that they were so willing to assist and give back in this small but great way. Conscientious and civic minded young people are just as important as bright-minded ones," she said.
The Wendy's and Coca-Cola Scholarship Program has been in existence for the past 14 years and has afforded 36 well rounded, academically gifted students the opportunity to study at some of the country's leading private high schools. There are currently 10 students in program, one of whom will graduate this year.
Nassau, Bahamas -
Hart is the first winner in a five-week "Livin' Large" promotion
hosted by Coca-Cola and Wendy's. This campaign provides Wendy's patrons
an opportunity to win weekly $500 cash prizes by simply upgrading value
meals to large combos. Those who enter are also eligible to win a VIP
trip for four on Jet Blue to New York City. Pictured left to right are
Yolanda Pawar Marketing Manager, Wendy's Bahamas/Marcos Pizza presenting
Nathaniel Hart with a $500 cash prize...
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