JIS News

The Greenwich All-Age School in South West St. Andrew was today (Jan. 12) presented with eight computers by the Canadian charitable organization, Yellow Bird Foundation.
The donation of the computers is part of the Foundation’s ongoing support to the educational institution, which was initiated two years ago. The Foundation has, to date, provided monetary support to several rehabilitation projects undertaken at the school, amounting to approximately $2 million.
In an interview with JIS News at the handing over ceremony, President and Chief Education Officer of the Yellow Bird Foundation, Jerry Kanaz, informed that the organization’s main goal, “is to assist the education and upbringing of children in less developed countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.”
The Foundation’s membership is comprised of persons working within the Canadian travel industry. Mr. Kanaz disclosed that Greenwich All-Age came to Yellow Bird’s attention after Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller, spoke of the needs of her South West St. Andrew constituency, at a function attended by some of the Foundation’s members some four years ago. At the time, she was Minister of Tourism.
Following discussions with Minister Simpson-Miller, followed by a tour of the constituency to more fully appreciate its needs, Mr. Kanaz said the Foundation agreed to provide aid to the school, and as such, proceeded to host fundraising ventures, one of which was an annual golf tournament in Canada.
Meanwhile, Minister Simpson-Miller told JIS News that the school and the wider community were most appreciative of the refurbishing projects that were facilitated through the Yellow Bird Foundation.
She revealed that the institution had undergone significant transformation with the entire electrical wiring redone; a sheltered outdoor area constructed for hosting school functions; windows repaired; the classrooms and general building repainted; and the school grounds paved.
“The people in the adjoining communities were very impressed and they were the ones who got the work to refurbish the school. They did a good job, so much so that during Hurricane Ivan that they had to use the school as a shelter,” the Minister said, noting that the community also protected the school during and after the passage of the hurricane.
The Minister is hoping that the Yellow Bird Foundation would also lend its support to the Trade Training Centre located on Spanish Town Road.
She said while the facility was not yet opened, discussions were underway with the HEART Trust/NTA as well as the Social Development Commission, to examine what skills and educational training could be provided for the constituency’s population. Following the handing over ceremony at the school, the Minister brought Mr. Kanaz to the nearby training centre for a site visit.
Meanwhile, Principal of the Greenwich All-Age, Sharon Smith-White, remarked that the refurbishing of the school had an impact, beyond its physical makeover.
She noted that the renewed environment had improved attendance and general behaviour, and also the literacy and numeracy skills of the students. She credited these positive changes to the fact that the teachers, and foremost, the students, were happier in an environment that was more aesthetically pleasing.

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