Approximately $65,000 is what Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, would like to see this island???s school population ??? from both public and private institutions – contributing to the Kiwanis Silver Dollars For Children programme.

The Minister, who was addressing the charity???s launch of its 2014 drive at Divi Southwinds in Christ Church, noted that if every child were to contribute the drive would realise about a quarter of the expected target of $250,000 set by the Kiwanis.

Using the biblical story of the ???Good Samaritan??? to illustrate that children must be more sharing, caring and empathetic, Mr. Jones noted they must be encouraged ???to recognise their humanity??? at an early stage in their lives.

???The best expression of the recognition of that humanity is in giving; in expressing that strong innate character which recognises that there are so many differences in us all but those differences should not separate us; those differences in fact should unite us,??? Minister Jones said.

Pointing out that the story showed that whenever you came across persons in vulnerable positions whether injured or poor, it was incumbent on individuals to reach out and assist, he said it also highlighted that the heart connects, or should connect to make a difference.

???One of the things we want to achieve among our school children is a connected heart,??? the Minister noted, alluding to recent acts of violence and bullying which he said could not be swept under the carpet but should ???disappear out of the consciousness??? of our children and move them more towards a caring mind.

Acknowledging that caring was not only about giving money, the Education Minister said it was also about empathy and having an understanding ear, where children could hear and respond to the pain of others. To this end, he encouraged students, from nursery to the tertiary levels, not only to contribute to the Kiwanis??? Silver Dollar Drive but to exercise care, consideration, and an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of others.

It was also noted that despite the recession and economic difficulties, some persons could still dig deeper and find more to give. ???We can also offer our strength, our brawn, [and] our time to volunteer. That is giving as well. You might not have that dollar,??? he maintained, adding that the simple act of helping a child with some deficit was an act of giving.

???Volunteering???Giving of yourself and giving of that time is an extremely important component of charitable work. This country should be so alive in giving, not only when there is a hurricane that damages somewhere in the Caribbean and the world or even in our own country.???

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