From the streets to entrepreneurship
MONTEGO BAY, St James — FOR 25 years David Maitland called the Streets of Montego Bay home, but today, he is making a bold step towards becoming an entrepreneur.
David, who is a former substance user, went through a transformational change seven years ago when he met Pastors Paul and Dorrette Blake from Acts of Holy Spirit Ministries.
His story came to the attention of the telecommunications company, Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, operators of Flow and Columbus Business Solutions, last year, at a special street-feeding initiative in the resort city. He was among the more than 100 persons who received some spiritual upliftment and holiday cheer during an annual Christmas street-feeding initiative spearheaded by Flow.
Thanks to the generous support of Street Church and corporate companies such as Flow and Alliance One, David will be receiving a donation towards equipment for his landscaping business venture, at this year's Christmas Luncheon on Sunday. He is now looking to provide services to residents and business owners in Montego Bay, and has already several commitments from some of his fellow church members.
"David is a success story if there ever was one; he has completely turned his life around. My wife saw him about seven or eight years ago in the hospital and prayed for him and has been looking out for him ever since; she even calls him her son," said Pastor Blake.
For the past few years, Maitland was enrolled in Teen Challenge and has since graduated as the most advanced student. Today he attends Bible School and takes English classes in the evenings, but is eager to earn a living during the daytime.
"We were touched by David's determination to succeed despite his circumstances and we are more than happy to help him on the road to success. Indeed we wanted to come on board with Street Church once again, to give back to the Montego Bay community, and it is our hope that Pastor Paul and Dorette Blake continue the work they have started here," said Nicole Campbell, corporate social responsibility specialist at Columbus Communications.
Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited has been supporting charitable initiatives such as 'Street Church,' as part of its Christmas Outreach Programme, since 2009.
As for Curtis Stanley, president of Citizens of the World, an Alliance One charitable initiative "We are always happy to give support to the needy, as our motto says giving is fun. Looking back at our previous projects this only gives us additional joy to be able to help put a smile on David's face along with everyone else who will also benefit from this project."
Seven years ago, the pastors began feeding the homeless and helping to strengthen their faith through 'Street Church' held every Sunday in Sam Sharpe Square. Each year, with the help of a generous few, they host an extra-special Christmas street-feeding initiative to bring some joy to other persons like David.
Come Sunday, they will continue the tradition of spreading Christmas cheer to the expectant persons.
"It is our mandate to help these persons and just to see them turn their lives around makes it all worthwhile. We have seen a few die, some by violent means and others die naturally, but we are very grateful to God for the work that we are able to do," said Blake.
For the past two years, Columbus, on behalf of its corporate partners, has donated more than $3.5 million to support activities that cater to children and the homeless across the island. As part of this Christmas Outreach Programme, staff members also volunteer at these activities to make the season a little brighter for some of the less fortunate in surrounding communities.