The Kings Early Childhood Institution, located in Tivoli Gardens, will receive C$1,000 (J$80,000), through the generosity of former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.
Founder and first President of PACE Canada, Dr. Mavis Burke (2nd left), and Chair of the Adopt-a-school Committee, Beverly Thompson (left), present a Certificate and Founder’s Trophy to former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga (2nd right). At right is Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan.
Mr. Seaga was named the 2010 recipient of the Founder’s Award from the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada, and during a recent trip to Toronto, Canada, was presented with a trophy by founder and first President of PACE, Dr. Mavis Burke.
The Founder’s Award comes with a cash component and Mr. Seaga has donated it to the Kings Early Childhood Institution, which is in his former constituency.
The event took place at the offices of the Consulate General of Jamaica and was attended by Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Seth George Ramocan and members of PACE Canada.
PACE Canada was formed in 1987, following an appeal to overseas Jamaicans to assist the country’s early childhood sector by then Prime Minister Edward Seaga, when he attended Jamaica’s 25th Independence celebrations in Toronto. A group of women took up the challenge and formed ‘Women for PACE Canada’, which several years ago evolved into ‘PACE Canada’.
Giving an overview of the formation of the organisation, Dr. Burke said the late early childhood pioneer, D.R.B. Grant, who attended the function with Mr. Seaga in 1987, also implored the group “to help basic schools to help our children.”
“It touched a chord in our hearts because it seemed that here was something positive we could do to help our country,” said Dr. Burke.
To date, PACE Canada has adopted some 260 basic schools, with each school receiving approximately C$365 annually. However, the organisation has done more than adopted schools, said Dr. Burke, noting that most of the Jamaican institutions have received books and toys, and their Canadian sponsors have donated kitchen equipment, repaired roofs, and even installed indoor plumbing.
“We have also responded to the call for hurricane relief and we have planted trees to commemorate special occasions,” she added.
Mr. Seaga said early childhood education is important to the education sector in Jamaica and he thanked the organisation for what its members are doing for Jamaica and Jamaica’s children. “By adopting schools you have enabled those schools to feel like they have some angel looking after them and assisting them,” he said.
Current President of PACE Canada, Mary Anne Chambers, congratulated Mr. Seaga, and informed him that the organisation has come a long way in its 23 years of existence.
“We take pride in the achievements of our volunteer-run organisation. Through our support of local community efforts and with the adoption of more than 250 basic schools and early childhood institutions, we know that we have positively impacted the lives of about 50,000 children, their families and their communities,” said Mrs. Chambers.