Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry

Youth in Jamaica

Jamaica is a country of extremes. On the northern coast—home to tourism—and in the suburbs of Kingston, wealthy Jamaicans live in first-rate housing, visit shopping centers featuring the best imported goods, and enjoy an elevated standard of living. Living in such suburbs as Cherry Gardens, Arcadia Gardens, and Forest Hills, the wealthy send their children to private schools and to universities abroad, and employ private security forces. 

Yet not far from these wealthy enclaves a significant number of poor Jamaicans live in squalor, with poor housing, limited food supply, and inadequate access to clean water, quality health care or education.  Kingston's poor congregate in the slum districts of Trench Town, Ferry, Jones Town, and Denham Town, where water supplies are often polluted and violent youth gangs clash with police for control of the streets. Jamaica's high inflation and dependence on imports—especially for food, gasoline, and clothing—has meant that the poor have had to spend a high amount of their relatively small incomes on the necessities of life. 

In this two-week service trip, we will delve into the poorest sections of Jamaica to meet and learn from the people there. In partnership with Franciscan Ministries and Sister Grace, our focus will be working with children – both in the capital Kingston and in rural Jamaica. We will begin in Kingston by partnering with St. Anne’s Jesuit Parish Primary School, where will spend several days interacting with the children, assisting in classrooms and even doing some physical work to the school building.  After school, we will head out to the slums on the outskirts of Kingston to work in primary schools, community centers, after-school programs or to just hang out with the neighborhood children.  We will also spend time at Glen hope Nursery, which houses orphaned babies and toddlers.  For the second half of this experience, we will transition to a rural experience in Braes Rivers on the other side of the island, where we will spend time teaching in country schools, assisting in homework centers and doing basic manual labor on a “Food Security Farm” – where food is grown for the poor.

This is a great introductory trip for people who enjoy interacting with children and doing a variety of ministries, especially in the hot sun!  Jamaica is also a very relaxing culture to explore, the island itself is beautiful and Jamaicans speak English!  This trip typically runs for 2 weeks at the end of May.

Applications are available in the Campus Ministry office (OM 207) or can be downloaded here (.pdf). Applications are due on or before Wednesday, October 15.

For further information, contact Lu Firestone at x 2422 or firestol@canisius.edu