News Release

Church members support 'March against Child Abuse' 

There have been mounting concerns in Jamaica due to the increase in cases of child abuse in the country, this trend is especially high in the parish of Westmoreland. So, when leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this area were approached to colloborate on a 'March against Child Abuse' they accepted the challenge and went to work. 

The event which was held on Friday May 15, 2015, was the brain child of Mr. Rayon Simpson, the principal of the Belmont Academy in Westmoreland. The idea seemed to have snowballed from a good concept into a parish wide initiative that even attracted National attention and partnerships. One such partnership was with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland.

The Church in this area became recognized by community stakeholders after it successfully implementing two town clean up projects as a part of the annual International Day of Service held throughout the Caribbean Area in November since 2013. The Church at that time was able to rally significant support from the local government officials, religious groups, businesses and non-governmental groups towards those projects. As such, church leaders were approached early on in the planning stages to assist in the coordinating and implementation of this March.

 Dwight Smith who is a member of the leadership in the Savanna-Lar-Mar unit was placed in charge of managing the churches' role in the initiative. He explained, "the church is putting a lot of emphasis on the youths, so we think this is a good initiative to take part in because then the community will see that the church is family oriented and that we value the safety and protection of all children". Living in a world where the values are changing, church leaders are raising a voice to its members not to change with the world but to uphold their high moral standards and to encourage others to do the same.

Leading up to the March, Brother Smith represented the church at planning meetings, engaged governmental, non-governmental, religious groups and businesses to participate in the initiative. He and others offered hours of time and talent towards preparing everything that was needful for the event to be a success. As a result, approximately four thousand persons took part in the march, including most schools in the parish, political representatives, representatives from the Ministry of Youth and Culture, One Voice for Jamaica, Kingswood Pen Community Development Club, National Youth Service, Social Development Commission, Victim Support Unit, Jamaica Red Cross and several recording artiste and many members of various communities.

On the day of the march, roughly thirty-five members of the church in Savanna-la-Mar came out in specially designed t-shirts for the occasion and took active part in the march and all the days activities. Those who participated expressed appreciation for the local leaders decision to participate and were overwhelmed at the support the initiative received from the community.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.