by Nigel Coke
The Children’s Ministries Department of the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (JAMU) will host a convention in celebration of our children on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the Northern Caribbean University Gymnatorium in Mandeville.
Under the theme “Children of Grace: Healthy, Happy and Heaven-bound”
, the convention will have children drawn from every corner of Jamaica where an Adventist Church is located. A holistic programme of activities is planned for the day with special emphasis on children’s health.Mrs. Loraine Vernal comforts two children during a children’s banquet in Kingston in 2010.
“We believe that our children need to know the importance of their holistic development,” said Mrs. Lorraine Vernal, Children’s Ministries Director of JAMU. “The Convention will focus on their spiritual gifts as well as highlight our cultural heritage and reinforce the importance of Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust in God (NEWSTART).
Lifestyle diseases are affecting us and obesity in children is on the increase, this has prompted us to step up our education and awareness drive on this and other health issues so that our children can learn from now, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.”
A team of health professionals will be on hand to administer free eye tests, body mass index (BMI), weight check and blood pressure check, with a minimal cost for blood sugar and cholesterol tests. There will also be health exhibitions and presentations on NEWSTART.
Considering the high incidence of child abuse in Jamaica, the convention would not be complete without input from the Child Development Agency (CDA), the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and the Children's Advocate along with other promoters of healthy lifestyle, and health care providers.
The spiritual feasts for the day will include praise and worship and preaching by child preachers.
There will be lots of fun, games and outdoor activities that will fulfill the physical aspect of the day and the public is invited to this event which according to Lorraine Vernal, is focusing on the spiritual, the physical, the mental and social health of the child. “Our children are crucial to nation-building, and it is our responsibility as adults to instill in them the values and attitudes that will ensure that the Jamaica 2030 vision to become ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’ is realized. Our aim is to uplift, empower and inform.”