George Town, Grand Cayman – Child Month 2022, now in its 26th year, was officially opened at Church of God Chapel, Frank Sound, on Sunday 1 May 2022.
In attendance were the Hon. Minister for Social Development, André Ebanks, Parliamentary Secretary Heather Bodden, Chief Officer of the Ministry of Investment, Innovation and Social Development, Eric Bush, Director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, as well as numerous DCFS staff responsible for planning and organizing Child Month.
A variety of young members of the church contributed to the service through song and dance. Three members of the church’s Fusion Youth Group led a worship and praise portion at the beginning of the service, followed by a welcome from Latoya Francis, and then a dance performance by the Fusion Youth Group. Seriah Frederick sang a moving rendition of "How far I'll go" (a song from the Disney movie “Moana”).
Children also participated actively in the worship service, through Scripture reading and offering collection by Elijah Knight, as well as a reading of Psalms 127:3-5 by Zoe-Naomi Robinson: “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.”
Introductory remarks were offered about Child Month 2022 by DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, who noted the month’s theme of “Building wellness with our children.”
Mendoza-Williams focused on the importance of spiritual wellness for overall wellness, and recognised the spiritual foundation of the Cayman Islands. She cited Proverbs 22:6 - “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” She said that, “Spiritual needs are human and undeniable” and that this focus leads children to understand compassion, generosity and other key attributes to become functioning as adults in society.
Hon. Minister André Ebanks followed, praising the inspiring “vitality and energy” of the youth cooperation in the Church of God service. He said, “Lead the way, show the community what we can do when our children shine at a high standard.” He continued, saying “Children are the custodians of the future. When we talk about building resilience, building wellness – the key word here is ‘building’.”
He explained that “Children need to be inspired and they need to be valued. They need physical wellness, and social wellness – to enable them to become independent, and make their way through the world. To build intellectual wellness, children can be stimulated with activities that challenge their minds. And emotional wellness enables them to cope with challenges, to be inspired to move ahead and advance themselves.”
The Minister finished with a reminder that “Child Month is an example for the community, of how we need to act during all twelve months of the year.”
The service was closed with a short sermon by Church of God Pastor Shawn Knight, who explained his interpretation of Psalm 127:3-5. He used the analogy of “Ready. Aim. Fire!”, saying that children are arrows that must be “pointed in the right direction.” To become well-rounded, he said, children need guidance from their caregivers and the community – including spirituality to lean on as something that doesn’t change, a “rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). ------------------------- The theme of this year's Child Month 2022 is "Building wellness with our children" - and focuses on physical and mental health, creativity, lifelong learning, social and spiritual wellbeing for our children.
Now in its 26th year, Child Month is observed annually in May and is organised by the Department of Children & Family Services.
The Child Month calendar (view PDF: https://tinyurl.com/2022DCFS) shows events throughout the month which will be held across the Cayman Islands, as well as media appearances. More details about events will be added to http://www.gov.ky/calendar, and updates will also be posted to the DCFS Facebook page: www.facebook.com/dcfscayman
Many events require advance registration and participants are asked to call the DCFS representative in their respective districts:
North Side & George Town Dorline Welcome 925 4083 Bodden Town Sophia Walker 926-5569 West Bay Vanda Powery 916 7902 East End Delmira Bodden 925 5543 Cayman Brac Julianne Scott 925 9872.