Not even the rain could stop Principal Winston Jackson from hosting a function to celebrate the provision of computers and electronic equipment for his school, Louise Bennett-Coverley All-Age in East Rural St. Andrew.
As rains, associated with a weather system, pelted the school on May 20, Mr. Jackson insisted, “Rain or shine we will have the function today”. And they did.
The school, formerly Gordon Town All-Age, was the recipient of 10 computers, a printer and a projector, courtesy of Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO), a New York-based non-profit organisation in the U.S.A.
Executive Member of Children Of Jamaica Outreach (COJO), Robert Desouza (left); sponsor of COJO, Christopher Roberts, (middle), and, Founder and Chairman of COJO, Gary Williams, observe a student’s performance on a computer after handing-over 10 computers, a printer and a projector to the institution on Wednesday (May 20).
The organisation, which started 15 years ago, is dedicated to assisting Jamaican children, especially in the area of education. Throughout this week, COJO is making donations of computers, clothing, and educational supplies to children and schools across the island.
One of the organisation’s donor, Christopher Roberts, a past student of the all-age school, had suggested that the American group donate some of the educational equipment to his alma mater.
At the ceremony, Mr. Roberts said he was indebted to the institution for what he has achieved. Having attended the school from 1972 to 1981, he now operates a restaurant in Queens, New York.
Principal of Louise Bennett-Coverley All-Age School, Winston Jackson, (left) accepts the computers, printer and projector from Founder and Chairman of Children Of Jamaica Outreach(COJO), Gary Williams (centre) and past student of the school, Christopher Roberts. The handing-over ceremony of 10 computers, a printer and a projector was held at the school on Wednesday (May 20).
“This is where my basic education was obtained. This education carried me to university in the Unites States, where I was not afraid to compete with any student from anywhere around the world, because I realised my foundation from here was as strong as anyone else’s,” he said.
Founder of COJO, Gary Williams, said the members of the organisation were elated to have selected the learning institution as a recipient of its good deeds. “If we don’t stand for children, we don’t stand for much,” he said.
Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Education, Alphansus Davis, said that COJO’s donation reinforced the Ministry’s focus on partnership, in providing quality education for the nation’s children. He explained that the Ministry was embarking on partnerships with the Diaspora, academia and the private sector in providing the best quality education, possible.
“The Ministry of Education, being cognisant of the fact that there is need for a serious injection of funds to deliver quality education to our children, has established the National Education Trust fund, which seeks to assist the Government in improving infrastructure development in our schools and to encourage partnerships in education,” Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Jackson thanked the organisation for the gifts and invited the members to return to see how they were used.
Main funding for COJO outreach programme comes from its annual charity dinner in New York. Some sponsors are: Trans-Continental Express Shippers, Air Jamaica, American Airlines, Jet Blue, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Half-Moon Hotel, Sandals Resort, and Super Clubs Resort.
Over the past decade, the volunteer-driven organisation has supported a number of institutions in Jamaica, as well as the United States. Among them, Alpha Boys’ Home, Glenhope Place of Safety, Marigold Child Care Centre, City of Refuge, St. Augustine Place of Safety for Boys and the Musgrave Girls’ Home, in Jamaica; and in New York, the Jamaica, Queens YMCA and Leaf of Life.
COJO will host its 15th anniversary gala on Saturday, December 5, 2009 at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel in New York City.