Our Mission To Jamaica
From left, Tealton Robinson, a peer mediator at Charlie Smith High
School, assists the Reverend Juanita PeekVary, a Peace and Love in Schools
(PALS) volunteer on mission from Friendship Baptist Church in Detroit, MI, USA, and peer mediator Zodian Stewart, to tend to a plant in the
school's peace garden. Looking on are Juanita Abrikian (second right), the
general manager of PALS, and Karen Gentles, a member of the Dispute Resolution
AN OASIS of peace was on opened
in the desert of conflicts which often affects students of the Charlie Smith
High School in Arnett Gardens, south St. Andrew.
Months of planning had
finally come to fruition with the opening of a peace garden, aimed at promoting
positivity and providing an available space for mediation.
Vice-principal Valery Hibbert
began germinating the project's seeds in March, because of a concern about the
high rate of conflict among students. She came up with the idea for a
designated space on the compound where angry students can take time out and
reflect on the positive.
The Reverend Juanita
Peek-Vary, Peace and Love in Schools (PALS) co-ordinator, said the project was
aimed at showing students that they have a choice. She also said it was
symbolic of the values they were trying to teach students.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Jean
Lee, a senior lecturer at the Jamaica Theological Seminary, charged students to
respect each other at all times as such conduct could avoid many of the
conflicts that arise.