SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - More than 40 students attending both Primary and Secondary schools on the island, received financial contributions towards the new academic year, 2020-2021 from the New Testament Baptist Church (NTBC) and some students also received special recognition for their outstanding academic achievement in the last school year.
The donations were made under the church’s ‘Dare to be a Daniel’ Initiative, which is a project that promotes excellence in students, by awarding children for being outstanding academically and displaying good behavior in school. According to Pastor Nolan Nanton of NTBC, Dare to be a Daniel is in its 2rd year and the main objective of the program is to encourage students to excel in their studies and to motivate the parents to work with and push their children to do their best. However, this year because of the outbreak of unprecedented novel Corona virus and the financial toll it has taken on many families, the Church decided to offer financial aid not only to the outstanding students, but to all students in their congregation, who are currently enrolled in Primary and Secondary schools.
“Education has always been a passion of mine, and I have made an intentional effort to convey such to my members and to use my platform to motivate and inspire others to get a solid educational foundation,” he said. “The Dare to be a Daniel Program is an incentive-based plan which challenges our youngsters to shine to their fullest, both academically and in being disciplined. This year after seeing the effects of the financial effects the COVID-19 virus has had on many people in our community, we wanted to do something more for families, in addition to the hundreds of food baskets which we have been distributing in the community since March, we thought it fitting and timely to give a contribution to each student to assist with their back to school expenses.”
This project is usually funded 100% by the church and congregants, but this year due to the financial challenges, it was decided to reach out to several businesses and individuals in the community who, although affected by the financial strain the Coronavirus has caused, agreed to partner with the church financially and in kind for this program. Businesses like: Klass Electronics which donated 2 tablets; High-Tech Plumbing & Roofing Services, Gemini Construction & Labor Supply, A-Plus as well as some individuals who through their financial assistance made this possible.
The NTBC is well known in the community for their weekly community feeding program/ Soup Kitchen, donation of clothing to the less fortunate and their inspiring spiritual services each week.
“We are a church with a purpose. We try to take care of our people in the community spiritually and in physical tangible ways, because that was God’s intention when the institution of a church was established,” Pastor Nanton said. “We extend an open invitation to anyone who wants to be part of our congregation, our doors are always open. We also encourage other businesses and individuals who would like to assist with our Dare to be a Daniel initiative to feel free to do so by contacting us.”