Children & Adults with Disabilities
A majority of our programs in Jamaica focus on the care of children with disabilities. The residents of our homes have a wide range of physical and mental challenges including schizophrenia, autism, hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy among many others. Several of our residential care facilities are located in and around the city of Kingston – the birthplace and primary headquarters of MSC Jamaica. At Mahoe Drive in Kingston, a bustling MSC community named My Father’s House comprises a home for children, administrative offices and several community outreach programs described below. My Father’s House is home to over 40 children with varying degrees of physical and cognitive disabilities. The chapel is at the centre of the community where Mass and formal devotional are held three times each day.
Sophie’s Place is an apostolate located in Gordon Town and houses over 20 children with disabilities. Sophie’s Place participates in a project with Kingston’s University of Technology in which the residents attend daily sessions with occupational therapists on the University campus. Sophie’s Place also includes accommodations for mission teams visiting Kingston, a chapel and a Little Angels preschool.
In Spanish Town, MSC Jamaica has developed a large community called Jerusalem! The property is located on eight acres and it serves as a residential care facility for over 150 children and adults with disabilities. Jerusalem provides a safe and nurturing environment for individuals challenged both mentally and physically. The Village section of Jerusalem! caters to older teenage and adult residents in a setting where several houses make up a small neighbourhood. These homes provide an integrated environment where residents with varying levels of skills and development coexist. Training in construction, home economics, farm work and formal education is emphasized to prepare residents for a semi-independent way of life. Jerusalem! also houses part of our Dare to Care program, a Little Angels preschool and agricultural initiatives.
While there are several MSC Jamaica programs in the Kingston area, we do maintain additional apostolates across the island. Widow’s Mite is located in Murray Mount, St. Ann, and was the first residential home for abandoned children with disabilities that MSC developed outside of Kingston. Widow’s Mite cares for over twenty children. Additionally, a growing need within Jamaica and a generous donation of land led to our expansion into the north-western part of the country in 2008. Blessed Assurance, home to 35 residents, is located just outside of Montego Bay. This apostolate is another location for mission trips to Jamaica and the property has on-site accommodations for volunteers.
Mandeville is home to Jamaica’s newest apostolate, Gift of Hope. Currently Gift of Hope is a home for children with disabilities whose ages range from 2 to 34, yet the ultimate vision is that Gift of Hope will serve as a home for younger residents, ages 2 to 12. In addition to being Jamaica’s 13th apostolate, Gift of Hope is also the newest mission trip location.
To complement our care for vulnerable children across Jamaica, we have developed an apostolate specifically to care for adults with disabilities. Jacob’s Ladder is located in Moneague on 100 acres of land donated to MSC by a bauxite company. In Jamaica, there are no facilities – governmental or otherwise – available to take care of individuals with mental and physical disabilities after they reach 18 years of age. The vision for Jacob’s Ladder is to fill this void by providing 400 young adults with mental and physical disabilities with a home where they can live out their lives. Upon completion, this apostolate will have 100 cottages for staff and residents. At present, there are over 90 residents living at Jacob’s Ladder and new cottage construction is ongoing. MSC is taking full advantage of the expansive property at Jacob’s Ladder to develop it as a hub for our sustainable agriculture program.