- The Gregory Park Community Computer Resource Centre has been providing learning opportunities to hundreds of young people over the past seven years.
- Recently the Centre received 15 computers from the Universal Service Fund (USF), and additional training courses are being offered.
- The facility was extended to give people the opportunity to increase their competence and skills.
The Gregory Park Community Computer Resource Centre, which is housed at the Gregory Park Baptist Church, has been providing learning opportunities to hundreds of young people over the past seven years.
Formerly the Learning Centre, the idea came from youth in the community who dialogued with the Gregory Park Baptist Church for to use a section of the premises as continuing education school for the community.
Recently the Centre received 15 computers from the Universal Service Fund (USF), and additional training courses are being offered. The old computers have been donated to basic schools in the community.
According to Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon, Phillip Paulwell, who officially opened the expanded facility, “what we are doing here for Gregory Park, and Portmore, represents a tremendous opportunity-it is a true example of what is possible when you have engaged citizens, and a proactive and responsive Government.
“This computer centre represents a welcomed and necessary addition to the very successful learning centre that offered a range of continuing education, and other programme. For the good work being done here, we salute all; especially all the people who give of their time and talent-the over 50 volunteer teachers, without whom this centre could not operate,” he said.
Minister Paulwell added that the accomplishment at the centre “is nothing short of outstanding. I see a community on a mission, I also see the great possibilities we can achieve when communities work with the Government, to provide the tools our people need to compete in this globalized digital world”.
Member of Parliament for East Central St. Catherine, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, noted that the centre is the second such facility to be opened in the constituency, and that by early next year another will be opened in the Lakes Pen community at the Victory Open Bible Church.
“I encourage the programme; I encourage the residents of the community to participate. It is a resource for the constituency; they serve over 600 students on an annual basis. The training of persons who may have dropped out of high school; persons who might not have completed their studies, this is an opportunity to give them a second chance,” Mr. Brown said.
Teacher at the Gregory Park Basic School, Regenta Peck-Miller told JIS News that after the centre received the computers from USF, the Principal Shirley Wylie, embarked on a process to get early childhood teachers trained in computing. Mrs. Miller said this is helping the staff to learn best practices via the Internet, and the children are benefitting.
“The first thing that she (the Principal) did was to get us as teachers in the area trained. When we came to the centre to start the course some of us did not know anything about the computer; this has really helped us in our work, it has been a wonderful experience…keep on doing what you are doing, because it is a wonderful job. To the wider community, this is an opportunity for you to come in and learn the skills that are being offered here. Take very good care of this centre, ensure that the centre is safe at all times-it benefits everyone,” she said.
Another teacher, who teaches at the Christian Garden Basic School, Althea Scott, said the teaching learning process will be enhanced with her new computer skills.
“I am now advanced to use the computer, I am not left behind, because of this course that we had. It has helped me. I want to encourage all young persons in this community, just come out to the Baptist church, the different subjects that they do have helped a lot of us. It is not a must that you have to pay, it does help us to be better,” she said.
Principal of Gregory Park Basic School, Ms.Whylie, informed that, “We aim for the upliftment of the citizens in our community, and we plan to open a cyber café at the end of the year so that the community can have access to the computers,” she said.
Pastor at Gregory Park Baptist Church, the Reverend Karl Henlin, said the facility was extended to give people the opportunity to increase their competence and skills.