At risk siblings given second chance at Adventist High School
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Communication and Public Affairs & Religious Liberty Director, EJC | Friday, September 24, 2021
Two of the newest students at Kingsway High School today are giving God thanks for the miraculous way in which their lives have been changed through the collaborative support of friends of the Adventist run Kingsway High School. The children had dropped out of school for more than a year because of lack of financial resources from their single parent mother.
Like many children in Jamaica, thirteen year old Angel and her brother Dwayne, struggle to survive off the meager resources from their mother Rosetta Nova, who find it hard to take care of the basic needs of the family.
Rosetta is currently unemployed and finding jobs have been hard. The problem is made worst as the children’s father, though alive, play little or no meaningful role in their life at this time.
“The three of us live in a one bedroom dwelling with no bathroom, toilet or kitchen facilities and sometimes we have no food to eat,” Rosetta shared from her humble dwelling situated near a gully bank where she lives in the Kingston 20 area.
“Where we live now, is a gentleman name Mr. Andrew say I can stay here until better come and I am grateful because the three of us sleep on one bed and many days we don’t have no food, ” she continued. “My children have not been to school for over a year because I don’t have it but I want them to get a proper education,” Rosetta explained, breaking down in tears as she related her story.
“I am looking for a job but mi can’t read. Mi used to do site work where mi used to lift up sand and gravel but mi getting old now and can’t manage that again. If I could get a little job to look after a old lady I would tell God thanks.”
Those were the words of a frustrated mother as she bared her reality to strangers who would soon become her friends. What they saw and heard prompted them to quick action and within days, life would change dramatically for Rosetta and her two children, through the intervention of a network of friends.
Keith Peters, a Seventh - day Adventist and member of the Hagley Park SDA Church entered his friend’s furniture shop one day and saw a young girl sweeping the floor. Keith remembered the first day he saw this little girl sweeping how it left an impression on his mind that would eventually lead to him and his wife meeting her mother.
“I went to the furniture shop one day and saw this little girl sweeping the floor. She was doing such a fantastic job that it caught my attention. I asked my friend who owned the shop, “who is this little girl?”
and he said that she lived near the shop and her mother sent her to ask me for money to get breakfast.”
Keith recalled that the voice of the Holy Spirit spoke to him more than once when he visited the shop again another day and saw the little girl sweeping the floor. He knew from her age that she should be in school and should not be working and thought to himself that he might be of help if he could speak to her mother.
“I came home that evening and suggested to my wife Tornia that we should go speak to the child’s mother to see how we could help and my wife agreed,” Keith recounted. “So we went and visited the child’s mother and from there on, the Holy Spirit has been leading us in this process.”
Their visit turned out to be a huge blessing for the children and their mother as they soon reached out to their good friend Dr. Donna Brown, Education Director in East Jamaica Conference who decided to visit the child at home not long after.
“I was concerned when I saw their condition and heard that the children were out of school for over a year,” Brown said, “and immediately I began to think of a way how I could help.”
“My heart was touched when I met Angel and listened to her mother’s story. Here was a mother who had two lovely children who was trying her best but she just couldn’t manage on her own,” Brown recalled.
In order to assist the children with clothing and food, Dr. Brown summoned the assistance of Keith and Tornia Peters and also reached out to another supportive friend who lives in the United States. Keith Taylor and friends have been helping children in Jamaica through the assistance of his siblings and network of friends. Keith Taylor has over the years offered several scholarships for children to attend Adventist schools in East Jamaica Conference and with his siblings have been assisting in providing school supplies to students and teachers in EJC for just over five years.
“When Dr. Brown informed us about Angel and her brother, we sent food items and clothing for the children because that was the immediate need at the time,” Keith confirmed.
Dr. Brown was more than happy to help when she was taken to visit Angel and her mother by the Peters and after consulting with her sponsors and doing her checks she discovered that there was a way to help Angel.
“As faith would have it, a full scholarship was available at Kingsway High School for a female none Adventist student,” Brown disclosed. “In a matter of days, we had Angel registered at the Kingsway High School and participating with her grade 7 classmates on-line on zoom.”
Angel’s Brother Dwayne, who is sixteen years old and was also out of school for over a year, saw what was happening for his sister and became jealous. “What’s going to happen to me?” he asked one day when he saw things falling into place for his sister to return to school. With much perseverance and the support of sponsors and friends of Kingsway High School, Dwayne Foster also was given an opportunity to register and is now a grade 10 student at the school.
Presently Keith and Tornia Peters are acting as guardians of the two youngsters. “Angel now lives with us and we monitor their brother from home,” Tornia said in an interview for this story.
For Tornia Peters, there are a lot of young people in our society who need our assistance and support. “It is our God given responsibility to reach out and assist young people because in doing so we might be helping to make better men and women of tomorrow which will impact our society for good,” she said, noting that we should still help even if we believe we cannot afford it.
Dr. Brown expressed great appreciation for the assistance of sponsors, both local and overseas who made Christian education for these none Adventist students possible. She is especially thankful for the Kingsway High School graduate overseas who sponsored Dwayne. “They are truly being used by God to fulfil his purpose,” she notes.
Dwayne is now glad to be back in school where he can pursue his dream to be a doctor. The former grade nine student of the Drews Avenue Primary School says it is a good feeling to be back in school after being out for more than a year. When asked how he had been managing with the zoom classes on-line. His was response was, “I have been doing well so far.”
Angel is more than delighted at the transformation that has taken place in her family. “I am very glad for what has happened and I like to be at school. If help never came I probably would have been out of school another year.”
Angel recalls the days when she and her mother used to pray at nights and ask God for help. “My mother used to pray and cry at nights and we always wondered if God was hearing us but now we know for sure that he did.”