Mrs. June Jackson, new Executive Director of the GARD Center

Taking on the mantle and the challenges of managing a vibrant and unique organization, is Mrs. June Jackson, the new Executive Director and former Job Placement Officer at the GARD Center. Mrs. Jackson comes with a wealth of expertise, receiving an associate degree in Arts and specialty in Small Business Management, Diploma in Social Sciences and Counselling, Adult Literacy certification, Teacher training and Office Administration.. Most importantly she brings the compassion and love for young people. God bless Mrs. Jackson and the work that she will be involved in over the years ahead for the GARD Center and the vulnerable youth that are served.

Mrs. Roberta Williams, our unsung hero, we salute you from the GARD Center Staff

In June 2018 Mrs. Roberta Williams retired from what she referred to as her mission, the GARD Center after 28 years. She described it all as an amazing journey…….. 

(presented at the Retirement Celebration Church Service on June 21, 2018 Mrs. Williams’ 70th birthday)

Framed in your office is a quote that says, “Success is largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” We think it is safe to say, that you, dear, have a commitment that is unmatched. Where others would have long thrown in the towel, you broke through barriers, where others saw obstacles, you saw opportunities, where others were frustrated and ready to give up, you were gracious and ready to try one more time, and one more time after that.

Even though she really is the gift that keeps on giving, we know that it gets hard sometimes, and that things get heavy. But in those trying and testing times, she does what we all should do when we don’t know what to do, “Be still and know that He is God.”

Over the past 3 decades God has used you to strengthen feeble hands and to encourage those with weak knees to keep moving forward. Your compassion and devotion to the youth of our nation has made a positive impact not only in our society, but in the hearts and minds of each trainee that would have passed under your wing. It has also kept you young. As you stand tall and beautiful, a refreshing embodiment of poise and grace, you make us, your GARDC family, want to be better and do better. You have set a standard, and an example, that we can only hope to one day meet. You have left behind more than fond memories, but a legacy that must be continued. You’d have it no other way, or you’d probably try to do it yourself.

Did we mention she’s a stickler for deadlines? More than getting things done right, she strives to get them done on time. Her work ethic is one to be admired. And after the course is complete, after the event has ended, before the dust can settle, the thank you’s MUST be sent out. Our superwoman never fails to give credit where credit is due and she certainly never forgets to say thank you. From the very important person to the behind the scene helpers, her gratitude is always heartily expressed.  

Even though she really is the gift that keeps on giving, we know that it gets hard sometimes, and that things get heavy. But in those trying and testing times, she does what we all should do when we don’t know what to do, “Be still and know that He is God.”

Finally, our love, we’d like you to know that when we count our blessings, we count you twice. We want you to know that we have no intentions of leaving you alone and that there is nowhere that you can go that our love won’t reach you. We want you to know that we will always be praying for you, and to remind you to:

Lift your eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh your help. Your help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Mrs. Roberta Williams, our unsung hero, we salute you. 

 

The Lord is my keeper, the Lord is the shade upon my right hand. Psalm 121:5

GARD Center partners with the Department of the Environment in the Grid-interactive Solar PV Systems for Schools and Clinics

“GARD Center , Guardians of the Environment, Guardians for our Youth” This is the theme of GARD Center’s  Grid-interactive Solar PV Systems for Schools and Clinics project. The overall goal of this project “is to ensure that during a drought or a hurricane, schools in the country will still be fully functional, better known as climate resilient.  Using clean technology will contribute to our national commitment of reducing our CO2 emissions” (Dept. of the Environment). Reducing our electricity usage, while increasing the trainees and trainers awareness of environmental management and renewable energy both at the Center and in the surrounding communities will be a vital outcome.

The Center just launched its project on September 18, 2018 with the Executive Director Ag. Mrs. June Jackson speaking about the project and its benefits, along with Ms. Shema Roberts, Environment Officer, with the Department of the Environment.  Ms. Roberts congratulated the Center on being the first to launch and to have an exciting program lined up for the youth. One of the highlights for the Center’s project is conducting a new course for Solar Panel Installation Assistant Technicians. Eighteen (18) young men and two (2) daring young women who are “thinking outside of the traditional women roles”, have registered for the course which is being conducted by Antigua Computer Technology (ACT), a strategic partner in this project.

Ms. Lucia Mings of  Environmental Tourism Consulting  who will be advising the Center in the development our Environment Management Plan also addressed the gathering of trainees , staff, trainers and other guests. Remarks were presented by Mrs. Karen Massiah , Customer Service Coordinator/Executive Assistant of  ACT stated that the company is pleased to partner with an organization like the GARD Center and to be a part of the Solar project.

GARD Center Graduates 89 Youth into the World of Work and Business

 

The European Union in partnership with the GARD Center in a two year project entitled “Improving Opportunities for At-risk, Probationary and Incarcerated Youth in Antigua and Barbuda” has empowered 89 young men and women with skills in the areas of Agricultural Enterprise, Professional Hospitality Services, Customer Service, Information Communication Technology and Business Enterprise. Many of these youth were graduating for the first time after dropping out of school for various reasons. It is always a touching moment for staff and parents to watch these young people come up with pride and self confidence to receive their certificates and awards.

Congratulatory remarks were given by Dame Eusalyn Lewis, Vice Chairperson of the GARD Center Board of Directors along with graduates who proudly presented a poem by Ms. Salome Hinds of the Professional Hospitality Service course and Graduate remarks praising their time at the Center, Ms. Latoya Wade from Business Enterprise and Ms. Adisha Browne from Customer Service.

Ms. Elicia Phillips, Managing Director of Phillips Consulting gave a very uplifting and encouraging speech for the Charge to the Graduates. The GARD Center wishes to thanks all the trainers who gave of their time and talents to work with the young trainees.

Agriculture
Anika Aska—Crop Production / Propagation
Sereno Benjamin / Tamesh Sookdal—Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
Kathleen Forde—Post Harvest
Brent Georges—Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Joel Matthew—Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Business Enterprise
Marcella André—Technical
Ingrid O’Marde—Technical

Customer Service and Professional Hospitality Service
Vincent Andrew—Technical

Information Communication Technology
Kedane Gamble

Lorne Matthew—English and Mathematics
Judy Dease-Richards—Life Skills
Joycelyn Humphreys—Life Skills

4th Annual GARD Center’s Farm to Table

The 4th Annual GARD Center’s Farm to Table Benefit Luncheon once again drew a wide diverse crowd of persons from children to proud senior citizens of 90 years old. The food this year was definitely a winner amongst everyone from a sweet spiced Sorrel Mimosa welcome drink ,to a nutty-gin cream soup, nopal salad, roasted leg of pork with pineapple cilantro sauce, stuffed chicken breasts with plantain mousse and rosemary sauce, marlin or lobster kebab, anti –pasta lasagna, assorted breads to name a few. To complete this mouth watering three course meal, goat cheese tarts, spicy chocolate samosa and sweet potato donuts. Does this not entice you to come next year?
All of this could not have been achieved without the many wonderful partners who share the mission of the GARD Center to touch the lives of our vulnerable youth in this Nation through holistic technical and life skills training programs and services. The GARD Center is indebted to the James and Maginley Charity and Care Foundation as the Premier Sponsors, Agricultural Producers, the Agricultural Extension Division, Fisheries Division, Goddard Catering who led a team of chefs from Jumby Bay Resort, Carlisle Bay, Curtain Bluff, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Flavas Restaurant. And of course the Patrons of this event His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams and Lady Williams and the more than 280 guests who supported the luncheon, a sincere thank you.

 

 

 

 

Protecting the Future of Beekeeping in Antigua and Barbuda

The GARD Center and the Australian Embassy based in Trinidad and Tobago and the Mill Reef fund have partnered with the Antigua and Barbuda Beekeeping Cooperative to train youth in beekeeping and its added valued activities in soap making and bee box construction. Twenty-two (22) participants have been involved in a ten week training course that is covering topics such as:

  • managing bee hives
  • collecting swarms
  • life of bees
  • equipment and clothing
  • business management etc.

Along with the technical aspects of raising bees the participants are learning how to add value to some of the secondary products from beekeeping such as using the beeswax in the making of soaps and creams. Other activities in the project will be the production of some educational fact sheets on various aspects of Beekeeping in Antigua and Barbuda.

 

     

The Australian Embassy has assisted with funding for beekeeping suits, other equipment and the lumber for the bee boxes. The Mill Reef Fund has also provided the funding for most of the trainers fees as well as equipment.
It is hoped that this partnership will go a long way in helping to boost the beekeeping industry in Antigua and Barbuda after facing some challenges which was affecting its survival.

GARD Center Upcoming Courses

The GARD Center with sponsorship from the European Union with be holding several courses for Youth between the ages of 17 – 35 years, starting in June and July 2018.

A course in Basic Baking and Decorating will begin on Monday, 2 July, and will run for thirteen (13) weeks.  Learn the art of:

  • Bread making
  • Buns (Sweet and Savory)
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Decorating (Icing and Ganash)

Training sessions will also include:

  • Remedial Math and English
  • Life Skills (developing self-confidence; managing conflict; resume writing, and lots more)
  • Information Technology

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

 

Professional Bar and Beverage Service will begin on Monday, 25 June, 2018, and will run for twelve (12) weeks.   Learn about:

  • Bar Etiquette
  • Wine Appreciation
  • Mixology
  • Beer
  • Responsible Alcohol Service

Training sessions will also include:

  • Remedial Math and English
  • Life Skills (developing self-confidence; managing conflict; resume writing, and lots more)
  • Information Technology

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

 

Agriculture Training will begin in July 2018, and will run for fourteen (14) weeks.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Small Ruminant Production (sheep, goats)
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Soil Management
  • Crop Production
  • Farm Management

Training sessions will also include:

  • Remedial Math and English
  • Life Skills (developing self-confidence; managing conflict; resume writing, and lots more)
  • Information Technology

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

 

Our Information Communication Technology course will begin in July and run for twelve (12) weeks.  Topics to be covered include:

  • Parts of a computer
  • Microsoft Office
  • Basic Web Design
  • Basic Computer Repair
  • Manipulating and Maneuvering the Web
  • Setting up a business in ICT

Training sessions will also include:

  • Remedial Math and English
  • Life Skills (developing self-confidence; managing conflict; resume writing, and lots more)
  • Information Technology

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

 

Additional Courses on Offer are:

Beekeeping.  Learn:

  • Management of bees
  • Parts of the hive
  • Bee box construction
  • Equipment for beekeeping
  • Developing colonies from swarms

This eight (8) week training course is scheduled to begin in late June.

Tentative Venue:  Agricultural Extension Division (Kentish Road)

Time:  4pm – 7pm (3 nights a week)

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

 

Also available is an eight (8) week Soap Making course.  Learn:

  • The Science of Soap making
  • Soap making techniques
  • Health Benefits of natural soaps
  • Marketing, Promotion and Packaging of products

Training sessions will also include:

  • Remedial Math and English
  • Life Skills (developing self-confidence; managing conflict; resume writing, and lots more)
  • Information Technology

Registration:  Ongoing
Fee: $50.00 (non-refundable)
Valid photo ID

Jumby Bay Island Company Ltd Donates to GARD Center

The GARD Center trainees are beaming at their new bus shed that will protect them from the elements as they wait for their transportation after classes. They are also very proud that they volunteered to participate in its construction thanks to the technical team from the Jumby Bay Island Company Ltd who taught the youth some basic skills in masonry and carpentry. Many thanks to Jumby Bay for donating staff and materials it was truly appreciated by the GARD Center staff and trainees. A special thank you is also extended to Antigua Plumbing and Hardware, VEG International and Argos Cement for their contribution in building materials as well.

The GARD Center in partnership with the European Commission continues in a two year project to provide quality and trend setting training for vulnerable youth, preparing them for the workforce and/or business development, emphasizing life skills, remedial math and English and computer literacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm-to-Table Thank You

The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development Center (GARD Center) wishes to sincerely thank all of our Sponsors, Chefs, Producers, Patrons, Extension Officers, Partners and Volunteers for assisting in making our Benefit Luncheon a success.
The James & Maginley Charity and Care Foundation, was once again our Premier Sponsor, and we are truly grateful for their continued commitment to the work at the Center.  Our Farm-to-Table benefit luncheon is currently in its 4th year and continues to grow.  Of these, three years, the James & Maginley Charity and Care Foundation, has been the major sponsor.
Our chefs, who this year were organised and managed by Mr. Mario Colindres, General Manager of Goddard Catering Group, and his team, we are ever thankful for their assistance.
Many thanks to the management of these fine establishments: Jumby Bay Resort, Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, Curtain Bluff Hotel, Carlisle Bay Resort, Trade Winds Hotel, Flavas Restaurant and Goddard Catering Group (Antigua) Ltd, for all of their support.  We look forward to our continued partnerships in the years to come.

Speech by GARD Center’s Executive Director at Seconds Chance’s Techical Support Centre "SPARKS" Launch, 14 March 2018

It is my sincere pleasure to be here today at this launch of the Tech Support Centre “SPARKS.”  The GARD Center in its 28th year as a development  NGO under the auspices of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.  A partnership was forged with the European Commission last year through their Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Programme: Enhancing CSOs’ contribution to governance and development processes in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
The GARD Center partnered in a project entitled “Improving opportunities for at-risk, probationary and Incarcerated Youth in Antigua and Barbuda and was given an opportunity in a component of this project to provide support for another NGO as a third party. Fate had it that the GARD Center discovered this newly formed NGO Second Chance which fit the criteria perfectly.
We chose Second Chance because of their serious commitment to Positive Youth Development and Justice, its core of professional volunteers and its willingness to work with other agencies on the challenges of youth offenders. Second Chance’s mission and objectives were very much aligned with the GARD Center’s and there were areas we could complement each other, as well as, to share expertise.
We were pleased to provide $EC17, 370 to purchase furniture and computer equipment to build the capacity of this unit.  We pray for all of God’s richest blessings on this facility and to offer the GARD Center’s continued support where possible.