Wed | Nov 30, 2022

Johnson doing wonders for West Haven Children’s Home

Published:Thursday | October 7, 2021 | 12:07 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Principal of Bethel Primary School, Jasmin Johnson (right) makes a presentation of food, cleaning material and other items to Sydney Grant, interim manager of The West Haven Children’s Home in Lethe, Hanover.
Principal of Bethel Primary School, Jasmin Johnson (right) makes a presentation of food, cleaning material and other items to Sydney Grant, interim manager of The West Haven Children’s Home in Lethe, Hanover.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jasmin Johnson, principal of the Bethel Primary School in Hanover, has always had a passion to serve persons with disabilities, so it is not surprising that she has made it a personal project to make regular visits to the West Haven Children’s Home in Lethe, Hanover, to help in caring for the children there.

On her most recent visit on Monday, her third since the start of 2021, Johnson, who has been receiving financial and other assistance from the United States-based Church of God of Pembroke Pines, in Florida, handed over food items valued at $200,000 to Sydney Grant, the interim manager of the children’s home.

“I spoke with the pastor of that church and told him about this home that I have taken on as my ministry, something that I have a passion for, involving persons not necessarily children alone, but persons with disabilities and the very vulnerable and at risk in society,” said Johnson, in explaining how the 2017 interaction with the church has sparked the assistance they have been providing.

“I have been going there (to the West Haven Children’s Home) at least three times or more each year. There are times when I go and cook for them, for everybody, including staff,” said Johnson, noting that she would spend time feeding and caring for the disabled children and pampering the members of staff as well.

According to Johnson, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has restricted her physical interaction with the children, but continues to ensure that the necessary stuff that she gets is passed on to the institution.

The West Haven Children’s Home has a population of 97 special-needs children of varying ages. The 48 boys and 49 girls are cared for by a 68-member staff, some of whom reside on the compound and provide 24-hour care for the children.

“Yesterday (October 4), I brought some diapers, because they need a lot of those – wipes, soaps, sanitisers, napkins, bed linen, clothing, and foodstuff,” said Johnson, who added that she gets a thrill from seeing the happy faces of the children when she visits. “I am going back up there at the end of November, and Christmas again when I will be going to cook and present their Christmas dinner for them.”

Towers of strength

Grant is delighted with the contribution Johnson has been making, saying it serves to fill a gap in the day-to-day operation of the home.

“She (Johnson) is one of our towers of strength for quite a while now,” said Grant, who pointed out that the home needs as much help as it can get from corporate Jamaica and other caring citizens.

“The arrival of the pandemic has impacted us greatly as it has brought the list of our overseas donors almost down to nothing, so we have to rely on ourselves and change course in how we do things,” said Grant.

“Our needs are many but our greatest needs right now are for food, diapers, staff compensation and money to pay utility bills,” explained Grant.

He said that persons wishing to assist the facility can contact them by telephone at 876-956-4912 or 876-468-1133 or through their email address, westhaven2012@hotmail.com.