Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 6, 2009
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A little child shall lead them - Kid missionaries bring message of hope for peers
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

Motivational speakers 11-year-old Kimberly Harris (left) and her 14-year-old sister, Nekhidia, of the Harris Family Vision Foundation, who arrived in Jamaica on Saturday for a series of speaking engagements from July 5-15. - Contributed


Eleven-year-old Kimberly Harris captivated the audience at the Hands Across Jamaica for Righteousness' Map Keepers launch in 2007 and the Jamerican is back on a mission to help the island's children empower themselves.

Harris, a forensic science student and motivational speaker, and her 14-year-old sister, Nekhidia, mined gold at the Rivoli Open Bible Church in Spanish Town, St Catherine, yesterday, 24 hours after telling The Gleaner, "If you don't have confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated in the race of life."

During a powerful delivery to the church congregation, some 32 adolescents heeded the call and made their way to the altar and signalled willingness for conversion.

Create the future

"We believe the best way to predict the future is to create it," young Harris told The Gleaner.

"Normally, they (youngsters) see adults at the podium. This time they saw kids their own age, which gives them a different look, one which says, 'If a kid can do it, why can't I?'" stated the 11-year-old, adding that her speech encouraged the youths to know how to execute and fulfil their visions.

On the island with a full roster, the Rivoli Open Bible Church was one in a series of speaking engagements that the two gifted sisters booked for July 5-15.

On Wednesday, along with their Jamaican parents, Michael and Dasline Harris of the Harris Family Vision Foundation, they will pay tribute to a retired principal at an awards ceremony at the Grateful Hill Methodist Church in Glengoffe, St Catherine.

Healthy feeding programme

On Sunday, they will be at the Sandy Bay Baptist Church in Hanover and on July 13, the Chantilly Basic and Enfield Primary schools in Westmoreland. They will launch a health-conscious programme at both institutions.

"Through the power of Christianity, our mission is to help children to empower themselves, like their faith in God and education. We believe that education is a vital tool that can enhance and improve the life of anyone," said Harris, whose 10 days of activities culminate with a motivational talk at the August Town Police Youth Club on July 15.

The elder of the two, Nekhidia, whose growth has been stymied by an undetermined medical problem and who was expected to die within three days of birth, is on the island to speak about disabilities in children.

Standing three feet tall, she said she wanted to be judged by her intellect, not her height, and that nothing would alter her efforts to achieve lifelong goals.

"There are different types of disabilities. Some people are shy, not able to accept who they are. Sometimes they think they are dumb or they can't do anything, but people have different talents and they can achieve, they just have to believe in themselves that they can do and not allow people to tell them that they can't," said the 14-year-old.

When she walks into a room, no matter how tall others are, she is the tallest in that room, said her mother, Dasline.

"She commands attention, she is like the psychologist at school. Adults come to her for advice, so do her friends," Mom said.


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