• JIS News

    Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, has commended the Project for the Advancement of Early Childhood Education (PACE) Canada on 20 years of partnership with the Jamaican government for the advancement of the country’s early childhood sector.
    “It is a partnership, which demonstrates how much the public and private sectors, working together can achieve,” Ms. Bonner stated as she addressed the organization’s 20th anniversary gala held recently at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto.
    She noted that PACE, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Early Childhood Commission and the administration of basic schools, “has helped to transform the environment in which our young children learn.”
    The Consul General congratulated the founders of PACE for their “foresight and commitment to education,” noting that they understand the importance of a child’s early years and the limitations of governments to make the kind of investments necessary for development.
    Chancellor of Ryerson University, Dr. G. Raymond Chang, who was the guest speaker at the function, spoke of the importance of early childhood education to a country’s development.
    “The first eight years of our lives, the formative years, have a direct and undisputed bearing on how we will live and learn in the next 80 years,” he pointed out, noting that society is duty-bound to give young people the correct and proper start in life.
    Stating that “It takes a child to raise a village,” Dr. Chang said the twist on the old African proverb places “children at the heart of community health.” “Implicit in this is the belief that if we fail to nurture and educate our children, especially the most vulnerable ones, our entire society will pay a terrible price,” he stated.
    The Jamaican praised PACE Canada and founder Dr. Mavis Burke for the accomplishments over the past 20 years in “caring for, helping to educate and empowering the lives of over 10,000 needy children.”
    PACE Canada, originally Women for PACE, was founded in 1987 by Dr. Burke, a Jamaican-born educator and Canadian resident, out of a need to assist the country’s early childhood education sector.
    Over the years, the organization not only changed its name to be more gender-inclusive, but has done a remarkable job of fulfilling its motto: ‘Helping Kids Excel’.
    President, Lorna King, said she is proud of PACE’s achievements over the 20 years. These include: adopting more than 200 basic schools in Jamaica; donating a mobile computer laboratory, which travels to basic schools in rural parishes; providing scholarships annually to students studying early childhood education in Canada and Jamaica; and implementing computer, book and school supply donation programmes and a nutrition project in Jamaica.
    Mrs. King expressed gratitude to the many “sponsors, partners, members and friends, whose generosity have enabled PACE to positively influence the lives of thousands of children annually by improving their school environment and providing teaching aids.”
    “Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and our most important asset. They deserve to be nurtured and educated so that they can reach their full potential. PACE is helping kids to excel,” she stated.
    Dr. Burke, in her remarks, noted that the organization she founded “stands tall as a community success story. We have survived by building bridges between communities in Canada and Jamaica.”
    The PACE founder said all must recognize that “a nation moves forward on the feet of little children.”In the meantime, the Founder’s Trophy went to Daphne Fay Corrothers, lecturer in early childhood education at the University of the West Indies and the Shortwood Teachers College and a PACE supporter since its inception.
    The Patron Award in honour of the late Louise Bennett-Coverley, who was a patron of PACE, went to Djanet Sears, an award winning playwright and director.

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