Providing an Outlet for Underserved Children in Rural Jamaica
What is work without a little play? Bring your enthusiasm and energy on this program as you will have the chance to enjoy the beautiful island of Jamaica through sports and service. Stay active with the children in the community, many of whom are naturally athletically gifted. Ability isn’t the core target, however. Rather, the importance lies in producing opportunities for fun and those which build self-esteem, all while creating memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
- Impact local children through planning and implementing a sports camp
- Learn about the intersection of sports with both mental and physical health in developing countries
- Tour the legendary Bob Marley Museum
- Establish a sports field in an underdeveloped neighborhood
- Relive the highlights of sports legend, Usain Bolt by dining in his famous restaurant, Tracks and Records
- Become engrossed by the canvas of tranquil mountains and farmlands that is offered at your home base
- Connect with underserved youth at a local children’s home
Days 1-2: Getting Oriented
As soon as you touch down into the beautiful island of Jamaica, you will be greeted by a member will be from our JVE staff. After a 3.5 scenic journey to your Home Base, you will have the chance to meet fellow JVE students with whom you will get to know well in the upcoming days. As you settle in, you learn about some important cultural norms in Jamaica, review our Code of Conduct, and start getting to know each other. We’ll show you the majestic views of the 24 acre farm where you will be staying, service project, familiarize ourselves with the area with a community hike and begin giving details about the service project.
Days 3-6: Service & Adventure
The first day of your primary service project-using sports for social change- will be spent getting to know the children of the community through introductions and ice breakers. The preliminary steps will involve setting up community sports field and begin teaching the fundamentals of baseball. Off the field, we will use several different avenues to inform you how this program is about more than baseball –it’s about using sports as a force for good. You will hear from professionals about the link between physical and mental health wellness and see that beyond baseball, the aim of the program is to instill values of cooperation, team-building, and patience while promoting self-confidence of the children in the community. Over the next three days, we will target this by hosting a co-ed baseball clinic in the community. The kids are sure to love meeting you and learning about your culture through such a fun outlet and experience.
After taking a break from the activities and sun with a nice relaxing lunch, we will head to the children’s home in the afternoons. You will draw on the information given to you in training you receive before embarking on this second service project; it will give you context to the background and some of the situations that have led to children to this setting. Having that knowledge you will be able to better connect with them with a one-on-one game of football, in working on an art project together, or simply just in talking.
After dinner, each evening, you will take time to reflect about what you have learned from your service project, in interacting with the local Jamaican people, and perhaps what you have learned about yourself.
Day 7: Adventure and Community Outing
The children will get to apply all they have learned in playing a scrimmage baseball game against another team in the community that has also be learning the sport on day 7. In the evening, we will enjoy an outing and dinner at a local restaurant that will let you experience true Jamaican cuisine and heritage.
Day 8: Adventure
You will enjoy a scenic ride from rural Jamaica to the bustling, cultural capital city of Kingston! The bus is a comfortable ride and throughout the journey, you will receive a wide range of information about the landscape, sites, culture and everything in between. Once we arrive into Kingston, our first stop will be the Bob Marley Museum. You will have a chance to learn about how the reggae legend was more than a musical icon , he was truly a humanitarian. From the Bob Marley Museum , you will have the chance to see the beautiful Georgian Style estate of the first black millionaire and eat world famous Devon House Ice Cream. In keeping with the sports theme of our program, you’ll be able to end your time at Kingston at Tracks and Records. While at Tracks and Records, the restaurant of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, you be able to participate in a unique dining experience that lets you taste authentic, Jamaican food in a casual atmosphere full of relaxed, Jamaican vibes.
Day 9: Relax and Celebrate at Jamaican Night
After relaxing with friends during the day, your trip will culminate with a Jamaican Night. You’ll enjoy jerk chicken and spend the last night in Jamaica celebrating all your hard work with those who you have met along the way. The air will be filled with a mix of laugher, and Jamaican music as we dance and gathering around a bonfire.
Day 10: Depart for Home
All good things must come to an end- today will include saying goodbye or to the Home Base staff and community members before traveling back to the airport. The best part of a trip like this is that many of the friendships are long-lasting and don’t have to end when you leave Jamaica! There, the JVE team will help you check in for your flight and see you off on your return flight home.
Summer vacation often seems to be a sought after time of year, with many students very eager for the school bell to ring on that final day of school. Yet, here in Jamaica school is critical for providing stimulation, learning, recreation opportunities and even food that may not always be a consistently accessible at home. The scarceness of resources can lead to a lack of proper nutrition and exercise which can create behavioral, health and developmental challenges for children. Through a collaborative partnership with the ICAN Foundation, students will be tackling these systemic problems through a co-ed baseball clinic. From constructing new sports fields, delivering new equipment and teaching the conventions of the game, you don’t have to be a star athlete to make a difference in the life of these children. After a day on the field, students will have the opportunity to further their service at a local children’s home. Whatever the project, you are sure to be the cause of lots of smiles as you are helping bring health and joy to the children and community at large.
You will discover how community infrastructure, poverty and sports all intersect to form health outcomes for the children and families living in the areas in which you will be working. Through guest speakers and trainings, you will learn how sports are crucial for physical and mental health: Sports are not only good for keeping in shape, they help with the values of determination, confidence and sportsmanship toward others and have been found to have a positive effect on self-esteem. Students will also be able to channel their energy into working with children at a local children’s home. Before entering the children’s home, you will be given context as to how this environment provides a safe space for the young people who live there. In their short lifetimes, they have faced a wide scope of dismal circumstances, including, abuse and neglect, which have put them at risk. By dedicating your time and attention to the children, you will gain a new perspective and demonstrate that they matter.
This program is distinct from the typical tourist experience in Jamaica as it offers unique opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re zip lining through the beautiful rainforest or sitting on a beach, enjoying the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea, you will be sure to get a sense of the relaxed, Jamaican vibes. You’ll get a chance to venture out of the countryside and into Jamaica’s bustling capital city, Kingston. There, you’ll learn about how Bob Marley was not only a Reggae legend, but a humanitarian who tried to unite the world with his notion of “One Love”.
Your home base is a historical estate set on a 24 -acre farm with beautiful mountains serving as its backdrop. The accommodation is located in the village of Walderston, farming community known for its serenity and beauty. The estate is just 10 minutes from Mandeville, making it in the center of Jamaica and very close and convenient to all projects on the program. The students will share comfortable, gender- segregated, dorm style rooms. The home base delivers a cozy, “at home feeling” and is newly renovated with many Western amenities.