From the Chairman - Jamaica Project of Hope Celebrates 10 Years

Praises be to God! Great things he has done.

As we reflect on the past 10 years, I cannot express enough gratitude to God for the over 600 young men and women whose lives have been transformed as the school grew from strength to strength. No doubt, those years had been challenging but God provided great partners and supporters in our time of need.

An enormous thank you to Pastor Billy Richards, Pastor Roger Berg and Church on the Queensway, Pastor Bruce Martin, Pastor Jared Clarke and Calvary Temple, Pastor Smith, Pastor Dale Tollefson and Agincourt Pentecostal Church, Pastor Bob, Pastor Randy and New Life Community Church, Pastor John Lennox and Faith Alive Christian Centre for availing themselves to be used by God to touch the lives of these people in a positive way. We could not have done it without you all.

 graduation-day-at-project-of-hope-in-jamaica-img_0592Graduating class of 2011.

In September 2014, we commenced our electrical installation course. Our Member of Parliament, Hon. Richard Azan, made a donation which assisted in the preparation of the facility and the purchasing of training materials. The Agincourt Pentecostal Church also contributed generously and for the first six months; this contribution paid for the salary of the instructor. Fortunately for us, the HEART Trust NTA has now taken over and will now fund the entire course.

In September 2015, three additional courses will be introduced: Computer Repairs, Webpage Design, and Beauty Therapy. From these courses we are hoping to see another 70 people on stream which will bring us to a total of 140 trainees.

This has truly been a special year for us as we started the countdown of our 10thyear anniversary. We began the celebrations with a church service at the Tweedside Baptist Church on March 15. Pastor Roger Berg and his lovely wife, Janice, were in attendance. We handed out scholarships to several trainees from our institution who received sponsorships from Calvary Temple and Church on the Queensway. Certificates of Excellence and a small token were also given to some students from the Tweedside Primary School who were successful in their 2014 GSAT.

Our second event was our seventh graduation exercise which was held in our own auditorium on July 19th, where 24 young men and women from welding and cosmetology graduated. People in attendance were Pastor James Guskjolen (Regional Director of the PAOC and Latin America and the Caribbean), Pastor Mario Natale, who represented Church on the Queensway, Mrs. Elizabeth Terry (Director of HEART Trust), Mr. Wayne Battiste (Project Manager), Board of Management, other dignitaries, family and friends.

Mrs. Terry, who was our guest speaker, challenged the graduates on how to divert into new beginnings and elevate to higher heights. Mr. Battiste’s affirmation was HEART Trust’s continuous support and partnership with the project.

Thanks to Church on the Queensway who contributed to the success of this event by funding the entire cost of the graduation. We appreciate it and we pray God’s richest blessing upon you all.

 graduation-class-of-2015

Graduating class of 2015.

Our 10th anniversary dinner was a new experience for the project and the community at large. Over 100 people were in attendance including Mr. Seymour Heron, a renowned saxophonist, who serenaded us. Pastor Guskjolen, Mario, Mr. Valentine Wint (our first Chairman), Mr. Battiste, Mrs. Bridgette Dixon, who represented the Member of Parliament, Mr. Richard Azan, and Mr. Hugh Cross (CEO of Universal Access Fund).

Mr. Cross, who was our guest speaker, promised to upgrade our internet café for the benefit of even the community. A promise was made to also furnish us with computers to assist in the offset of the web page design. Mrs. Dixon committed to continue further work in the development of the centre starting with their first major project for unattached youths which is set to commence in September.

The celebration came to a close with a church service at the Tweedside New Testament Church. Pastor Tim Crooks, the guest speaker, and nine young people from Church on the Queensway ministered to us in different ways. They also held a two-day VBS with over 100 children from the community. It was truly a success.

Special thanks to Pastor David Hazzard and The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada for sponsoring all the trainees who attended the dinner. Sister Grant and the ladies prayer group, God bless your hearts. Phil, we love you and thank you for your contribution. Rev. and sister Thompson of Glad Tiding, we honour you both and we are grateful for your contribution.

Pastor Bruce Martin of Calvary Temple and Pastor Randy of the New Life Fellowship, thank you for your congratulatory and encouraging message during our time of celebrations. And to all the other people who supported us through prayer, cash, or kind blessings and honour to you.

Once again, thank you all and we look forward to venture into another milestone.

God bless you all!

Cartland Palmer

Chairman, C. Palmer Project of Hope Skills Training Centre 

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Members of the board and special guests at the graduation in 2015.

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Brother Cartland receiving a plaque from Pastor Mario Natale of Queensway Cathedral in 2015 for 10 Years of Excellence.

Click here to read the Fellowship News article that appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Scroll down to read the first article on Project of Hope that appeared as a cover feature in the July/August 2010 issue of testimony.

A REASON FOR HOPE - TRAINING A GENERATION FOR LIFE

 by Ann Peachman 

white-border-around-july-august-coverTucker’s future looked bleak.

As a young man in rural Jamaica, he was borderline illiterate and had no skills. His chances of finding a job in his community were doubtful—and without one, poverty loomed. He could try going to Kingston or one of the other large cities, but he’d seen others in his situation leave and return with nothing more than a new knowledge of big city crime. Tucker wanted to make something of his life, but he was stuck in a hopeless downward spiral.

Fast-forward several years and Tucker now has his own computer business. Recently, he set up and formatted an entire computer lab of 17 workstations. His self-esteem—almost non-existent before—has skyrocketed, and he takes pride in producing excellent work. 

Tucker’s transformation began the day he walked into Project of Hope Skills Training Centre in the village of Tweedside. There he found help to upgrade his English and math skills until he was at par with the other students. Fascinated by computers, he took the level one computer course. After graduating from that, he went on to complete level two. The skills he gained can be used internationally, and his business is flourishing.

The school, which has been bringing hope and a future to Jamaican young people since 2005, was birthed in the hearts of Cartland and Mildred Palmer many years before. As Jamaican Canadians, they had built a successful, fulfilling life. Cartland’s contracting business was thriving, their family was raised and they were active as elders at Queensway Cathedral. As they neared retirement, however, God began speaking to them about the needs of Jamaica’s young people, trapped in a cycle of poverty and unemployment. Over a period of years, they accepted this as God’s call. They answered.

For the first two and a half years, they funded the entire operation themselves. Cartland’s skill as a contractor proved useful in the planning and construction of the 13,000 square foot building that became the school. He employed local men to assist with the building project, then worked alongside them. This not only offered a means of income for locals, but it gave Cartland favour in the community. As others caught the vision, they provided computers and other equipment.

“The school itself is situated on a hillside overlooking a typical Jamaican valley. The panoramic view is captivating, and from this vantage point you can see and hear the various activities of Jamaican life and culture,” said David Hazzard, PAOC assistant superintendent for Fellowship Services, who recently visited.

They began with courses in information technology, welding and woodworking. Courses in English and math are offered to upgrade their knowledge before they learn any skills.

Other courses such as cosmetology and office administration are now available, and second level welding was recently started. The government’s National Training Agency supplies the teachers, so when students graduate they are certified professionals qualified at a national standard. They can then take their skills anywhere in the world. 

In July 2009, the centre graduated 109 students. It was a proud day for the students, for the school, and for Jamaica. The chief advisor to the minister of education, the minister of industry and commerce, and other government officials attended, as well as friends from Queensway.

The school is making a difference for the next generation of Jamaicans. “We’re seeing some progress,” says Cartland. “We had a good life in Canada, and it was a major sacrifice to come here. What keeps us going is the transformation that is taking place in the lives of some of these young people. The first thing you notice is that they begin to take pride in themselves.” 

Cartland is passionate as he talks about his vision for the youth. “I want to work with them at an early stage of their lives and instil in them a sense of value. We need to work with the parents and the church as well. The youth are getting one message from their parents, another from the school, and another from the church. They are confused and don’t listen to anyone but their peers. We need to work with the parents and the churches to shape and mould these young people with a sense of value and purpose for their lives.”

The Palmers have a warm relationship with the churches and the community. David Hazzard says, “Mr. Palmer is highly respected, not only by the students, but in the entire village of Tweedside. I met other community leaders who expressed so much appreciation for the Palmers and what they are achieving in that region.”

The gospel message is an integral part of the school’s vision. Each day of school begins with devotions, and five of the six teachers are born-again Christians. “Jamaica is one of the easiest places to share the gospel,” Cartland explains. “Just about everybody has gone to Sunday school, has some understanding of the message, and are open to it.” 

The Palmers dream of adding more course options and night school upgrading that would reach out to teenaged single mothers, many who are as young as 14. It’s all about hope—for young men like Tucker, for the many children and young people at the school, and for those still on the outside. Project of Hope welcomes them all.

Cartland and Mildred Palmer are PAOC missionaries serving in Jamaica. To learn more about Project of Hope and PAOC International Missions, visit https://paoc.org/donate/CartlandPalmer. This article appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of testimony, a monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2010 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

Samples of students' work at Project of Hope. All photos © The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

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