Marla’s Minute: ACE and AVC

Marla’s Minute: ACE and AVC

Since all the craziness continues in the Education Department in Jamaica over who learns online vs. who goes to school, ACE found a common problem happening among our sponsored students…well, among several common problems.

Most of our students were unable to learn via tablets because they didn’t have one. Then there was the issue of students being given instructions to use their parent’s phone for lessons using data. The problem was there were two to three students in different grades all wanting to use mommy’s phone at the same time, as well as mommy! So, that wasn’t working either. We know these facts because ACE has many parents of sponsored students employed with us who told us, and we heard from other parents in the sponsorship program. No internet, no tablets, no phones and, if a parent works, no supervision. Sound familiar?

We hope it’s better in the U.S. than here because our Ministry of Education is having to correct or modify its policies weekly. And, frankly, I would not want to be in their shoes. They are trying to keep adjusting even while the Ministry of Health is making constant changes to the health codes. It really is craziness.

Then ACE had an idea. What if we create a place where at least 30 of our students who had no way of connecting to an online class could do so on a daily basis in a safe environment with adult supervision to help with connections and facility needs?

Introducing ACE Visual Classroom or AVC! AVC will be held at the ACE office at Llanrumney and at the hotel. Beginning November 1st, ACE staff plans to implement a Visual Classroom upstairs in the Henry Morgan room for 15 students, one ACE person, and a volunteer parent. The second AVC will be in the ACE Headquarters office on our Llanrumney property for another 15 students.

The question came up earlier, why just 15 per classroom and not more? In accordance with the Ministry of Education guidelines, ACE is not a school and therefore can only provide enough space per location for 15. If we chose to have more than 15 per location, we would fall under the guidelines of a school and, well, let’s face it, we are not a school. Each location has bathroom facilities, full internet and tables for spacing. We are seeking the advice of principals, former teachers and Board Members on how to do this in the best way possible.

There was just one thing missing from this idea. We didn’t have computers or tablets for our student to join on the internet for their classes. Have you ever heard the expression, “The lights are on, but no one is home”? That’s us. Everything was in place — even the students that will be walking to AVC – but nothing to use.

Then it happened – again. We prayed that God would provide what the students needed to attend online classes and, thanks to a very generous family, ACE has 10 tablets on their way down to Jamaica. These are not cheap tablets, either; they will handle everything the school needs our students to do. Thank you, friends, for making a huge difference in the lives of these young Jamaicans and their families.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates next month.  In the meantime, remember all the PB&J you brought down? ACE is providing lunch for each child who cannot bring a lunch with juice. We’ve got enough PB&J to last us to the end of the year hopefully. Thank God for His ideas on how to create change. When we ask our volunteers to remember some key sayings, it’s because we had to learn them first…. it’s just the way we like it!

Blessings and Very Grateful


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A new arrival at Green Life Llanrumney Farm

A new arrival at Green Life Llanrumney Farm

Anyone who has ever been to Jamaica with ACE knows that Marla and Allen are not natural farmers – particularly Marla. She can dress the part, but when it comes to knowing how to handle the cows, pigs, and donkeys, well, let’s just say, ACE leaves the real work to the farmers who know what they are doing. When we acquired the property, there were four female donkeys and a “Jack” (male donkey).

Funny enough, they are all pregnant (well, not Jack) and just last week, one of the ole girls gave birth to another female. We thought about asking everyone to come up with a name for our new arrival, but then, it just came to us…. “Covey”… get it?  What do we need donkeys for, someone asked?  We use them for collecting those coconuts we have on the farm whenever we can get to them. Donkeys carry coconuts on their backs.

It’s Official!!

It’s Official!!

 iQuest made it through Summer 2020…

For the past 18 plus years, ACE has enjoyed having many young adults ranging from 18 to 26 spend their summers to help us out in Jamaica. This program, called iQuest, has turned out to be one of the best “pauses” in a young adult’s life ever. This past year, we opened up our intern application process in October 2019. Usually, we have anywhere from six to eight immediate applicants going on to our website. Not this time. Instead we had three, then two, then one. We were scratching our heads wondering what was going on.

God knew what was coming… and, in usual style, we went along.

Moving forward, Covid became a popular topic after the first of the year. One by one, all our volunteer teams cancelled for the summer. But, there was one young man who didn’t cancel, didn’t back away and in fact kept pushing forward to come be an Intern for the summer.

Meet Abe. Abe came from Indiana in May and was ready to meet any challenge ACE had for him. With our own Super Student, Tahj, as the house father, Abe stayed with Anthony and Tahj at the Campus this summer. We called it the Jamaican Guys Club and it worked! Not only has Abe developed muscle, but he has developed a love for his new home in Jamaica. Like most interns who complete the Leadership Course, we hope he’ll always consider this his “go to” spot when he needs a getaway from life in the U.S.

ACE is offering iQuest intern programs all year long in 2020. Look at your calendar and see if ACE fits into your life for that much needed “pause”.

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Farming With the Family: August 2020

Farming With the Family: August 2020

Last Tuesday, Green Life Llanrumney Farms (GLLF), an ACE micro-business, hosted its first “Llanrunmey Agricultural Meeting” at Buccaneers. Local farmers in the area and district were invited to attend a one-hour meeting to learn about what ACE, through GLLF, plans to do in the agricultural field of growing. We were so pleased at the turnout! Approximately forty farmers, both men and women, joined us in the conference room to hear about the possibilities of farming on the Llanrunmey property – as well as on their own farms – with the seeds we prepared in advance, thanks to a generous farmer in Kentucky who donated the vast variety of organic vegetable seeds.

Much discussion was had over the ups and downs of farming, like the lack of land, and lack of equipment to plow and prepare the property for planting. GLLF was able to share the vision we have for the farming side of the property and how that would benefit all. We think the most important outcome of this meeting was the excitement of everyone wanting to can the food when the prices are low to use later.

We agreed and will be looking for more supporters to help us with another gross of canning jars from the States. Everyone left their names, numbers and locations. We will be physically following up with our farmers by charting their planting season to see who is serious and who is not. After seeing the initial planting, we hope to have several local growers for Galina Breeze Hotel and ACE. They eat what they grow and what farmers don’t eat, Galina Breeze will purchase at a fair market price. Now that’s some real groceries growing! Stay tuned for more of this exciting venture as we are growing not only our farmers’ livelihood but our family as well!

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Now Showing!

Now Showing!

Our vision at ACE is to change lives and transform communities. We think we’ve been pretty good at it – with God’s help, of course – over the past three decades by involving ourselves directly into the four aspects of a person’s life: education, wellness, spiritual purpose, and microbusiness. There was something missing in the category of “family bonding” that all of us living in St. Mary had noticed: there was nothing to do as a family together that didn’t cost money for traveling or entertainment.

ACE has been able to utilize Buccaneers, the jerk centre at our new Green Life Llanrumney Farms property, to keep some of our staff employed during this unexpected slow mission trip season. Buccaneers has provided a wonderful community meeting spot, providing great food and atmosphere, and the idea was floated to find a fun activity for everyone. So, while ACE has never been in the theatre business, we gave it a try and put into action our first “Movie on the Ship” presentation!

Since ACE took over the Llanrumney Property last year, we were left with a lot of interesting half- finished buildings and what we would call “art pieces”. The Pirates Boat made of concrete happened to be one of them.  After painting and repairing a few things on this ship, we decided to put a vinyl screen on it, paint it and start showing movies outside on Saturday and Sunday nights for free.

On the first night, as dusk fell, people started coming in and the movie started. Someone asked how many people came… a huge number of ten! Okay, so it wasn’t a massive grand opening, but we know that when word gets out, our neighbors and children and families will come with their blankets, chairs, food and enjoy a night out under the stars. We will keep you posted as ACE continues to find ways to build on those long-term family relationships.

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