Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell told students of Queen’s College Primary Years that they have the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of others – even at their youthful ages. Addressing a Special Assembly held in the Geoffrey Brown Auditorium, Queen’s College Campus (Friday, January 18), to honour ten-year-old Melania Nixon as ‘Student of the Year’ for her exemplary work with the elderly, Minister Campbell said he was excited “to be a part of something so extraordinary.”
The “birth” of Melania’s Operation Love and Gratitude took place two years ago with the assistance of her mother Danella and came after Melania’s now 93-year-old grandmother — Ms. Verlina Maycock, a former janitress at the Ragged Island All-Age School, began losing mobility in her legs. The ten-year-old has been actively involved in assisting in the care of her grandmother by talking with, reading to and playing the violin to her. The time spent with “grammy” was so therapeutic for her grandmother that Melania decided to share her time, talents and treasures with residents of Senior Citizens Homes.
The aim of Operation Love and Gratitude is to inspire and motivate others, particularly her peers, to “continue to show appreciation for those who have paved the way for us.” Melania labels Operation Love and Gratitude as her “mission work.” “I am moved by the fact that at such a tender age, what started out as a personal concern for a family member grew sufficiently that an entire community of persons are now benefiting,” Minister Campbell said of Melania’s Operation Love and Gratitude non-profit. “This is a community of persons who have paved the way for us younger Bahamians to enjoy the benefits we are now enjoying; a community of persons who come from a time when the singular message was always as Melania said: ‘Stay in school, learn your lesson, be nice to your parents, be kind to your friends and family.’ That is a lesson that is not getting sufficient attention in our Bahamas today.”
Students of Queen’s College’s Primary Years also took the opportunity to present care packages in the form of toiletries, disposables and other items to Minister Campbell in support of Melania’s mission of assisting the elderly through her Operation Love and Gratitude non-profit organization. Minister Campbell said Melania’s work with the elderly, and the donation by students of Queen’s College Primary Years, are terrific examples of the many opportunities that exist to make a positive difference in the lives of others. “It always warms my heart when I find someone who is prepared to go out of his or her way to extend kindness to a stranger,” Minister Campbell said. “Not all of you students will be able to form your own non-profit organization as Melania did. What I do expect is that what is happening today, what has been happening for some time with Melania, will encourage and inspire more of you to take time out of your day – if only a few minutes – to stop and think of somebody else.
“Stop and think about one of your classmates who is having a hard time. Stop and think of one of your family members who is not well. Stop and think about somebody upon whose face you may be able to put a smile.” Minister Campbell told students that he has sought to build upon partnerships since assuming the post of Minister of Social Services and Urban Development a little over six months ago. “Wherever we find individuals or organizations that are willing to partner with us, we embrace those partnerships,” Minister Campbell added.