Empowering, inspiring and motivating the youth of the nation was at the forefront of ‘A Fresh Start School Tour,’ held February 8 – 11.
Beginning the school tour on the western end of the island, organizer of the event Jacquie Rolle, Founder and President of Xcel Management Group International shared that while the tour was geared towards reaching all school–aged students on the island, it was particularly important for them to travel to West End and specifically impact those who may not necessarily have the opportunity to attend events taking place in the city of Freeport.
“One of the reasons that we specially went into the western schools was, because we know a lot of times students in those areas miss out.
“Usually schools in those areas do not have the opportunity to experience all of the things that go on in Freeport, so we did not want to leave them out and that was why it was so important to go into those communities; into those schools and really impact their lives and make a positive impact in their spirits and in their hearts and minds,” Rolle explained.
‘A Fresh Start School Tour,’ was an Outreach Program, especially designed to target school students, from primary up to high school.
“We had a week of events and several activities. We went from West End Primary and then into the Freeport area. We, being pastor Ricardo Miller, a Bahamian, now residing in Texas, the founder of the Ricardo Miller’s Children International Ministry Program, is doing a phenomenal job.
“We had the opportunity to visit, going into the schools to really share a message. Our theme was, ‘Rebuilding, Restoring and Repositioning the lives of our Children.’
“On Saturday Rolle, Miller and guest speakers Frank Outten, pastor Duerre Thomas and Rashad Godet, assembled at the St. Georges High School Gymnasium to offer students, residing in the Freeport and eastern areas, the opportunity to gain insight from the information relayed during the western school tour,” she added.
She noted that the purpose of Saturday’s event was to really target the schools in Freeport and the western communities.
Saturday was the culmination of the events.
“Pastor Thomas, former youth pastor at Calvary Temple was our keynote speaker on Saturday, in addition to Frank Outten, proprietor of Frank’s Ice Cream and Rashad Godet of Life Leadership.”
Questioned how well received was Saturday’s conference, Rolle answered, “It was well received, we had approximately 76 students that participated, which I think was a really good number considering all that was going on the island. This is the first year that we have had ‘A Fresh Start School Tour.’ It was very promising and encouraging,” she noted. “One particular student by the name of Elijah Bullard shared with me that this was the best leadership and empowerment session that he has ever attended and that he especially loved what pastor Thomas had to share.
“His mother told me that for him to say that speaks volumes. I also had the opportunity to speak with some of the other students in attendance, following the sessions that stated that they really enjoyed the event and the activities.”
Based on the feedback from all participants, Rolle deemed the event quite successful and foresees it taking place again in the near future.
“We are definitely going to go ahead and host it again as a way to bridge and build, so that we can have other Outreach Programs. There is such a need for them in this community, with all that is going on in this country. When you hear about the violence in our schools and on our streets, we have to fight for the lives and souls of our children.
“It cannot be something where you have just one activity and that is it; you have to continually be out there, continually fighting, working to persevere, so that we can make a difference in this country.
“We are at such a critical point in our country, where we cannot abandon our children,” she said.
“We cannot forsake our children, now more than ever we need to continue to partner together as a community and support each other; encouraging our children in any way that we can, giving them an alternative.
“If we do not they will move into the lifestyle of the streets, so we have to provide them with options, alternatives with the word of God at the forefront, identifying leadership, and ways that they can live a positive life.”
In total, Rolle and the guest speakers visited seven schools – Holmes Rock Primary, Martin Town Primary, Bartlett Hill Primary, Lewis Yard Primary School, West End Primary, Eight Mile Rock High School, and Sunland Baptist Academy – on the tour.
“In total we visited with over 2,100 students and I would say about 33 of those students gave their lives to the Lord. In West End 117, the entire school gave their lives to the Lord.
“That was the ultimate success; even if it were just one that heard the message and gave their life to Christ, it was worth it,” Rolle said.
“I want to encourage parents, as well as the students, especially those that participated in the events, to let them know that everything that they heard, they can take it and apply it to their lives daily so that we can change this country for the better.
“I would like to personally thank our volunteers and our sponsors. To Vernon Grant of Castaways; this was another event in which they came on board. I would also like to thank Sky Bahamas as well as the Coopers, from Burger King and Dominoes Pizza, who donated the lunch for the children on Saturday.
“All of them made the entire week a success and I want to thank them all. I would also like to thank all of the schools that shared the information with their students on the event on Saturday, who in turn participated and came out,” concluded Rolle.
Published Thursday, February 16, 2017