- Rise to Education, a group of student volunteers from Corporate Area high schools, is on a mission to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate children through education.
- They volunteer at community centres in Parade Gardens, Fletcher’s Land and Greater Brown’s Town communities, helping students with their schoolwork.
- The student volunteers also give motivational talks, host end-of-year treats, and provide educational supplies to students.
Rise to Education, a group of student volunteers from Corporate Area high schools, is on a mission to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate children through education.
The group was started in 2012 by five students from the prestigious St. Andrew High School for Girls, with a mission to assist inner city students to excel in school in order to achieve their dreams and contribute to the development of their communities.
Three years later, there are over 30 members from St. Andrew, Wolmer’s Boys, Kingston College, and the American International School of Kingston (AISK).
They volunteer at community centres in Parade Gardens, Fletcher’s Land and Greater Brown’s Town communities, helping students with their schoolwork.
The student volunteers also give motivational talks, host end-of-year treats, and provide educational supplies to students.
“It is amazing to see how many persons my age want to give back to the society by just coming together to volunteer,” says 17-year-old Communications Advisor of Rise to Education, Jhodi Webster.
“It definitely is a great feeling to be my age and being able to impact so many young lives,” she adds.
She tells JIS News that the children they assist “really enjoy it. They want the help and they do the work. They really motivate us.”
Recently, the student volunteers made a presentation of school supplies valued at $70,000 to some 60 students, parents and Centre Managers at the Parade Gardens Community Development Centre (CDC) Benevolent Society.
The students received school bags, textbooks and notebooks as well as other stationery.
Founder and President of Rise to Education, Garcia Simmonds, tells JIS News that the group is very happy to be able to give so much this year.
“We are thankful to…to be able to give back over 60 exercise books, 35 textbooks (English and Mathematics workbooks). Rise to Education chose these books having been in this community for over a year, we have recognised the need and identified the books that will help the children to excel in their GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test),” she says.
Mr. Simmonds has expressed that Rise to Education is interested in serving more students in the current academic year and plan to engage students from Providence this term.
Meanwhile, Wendy McGlashan, who daughter benefits from the Parade Gardens homework programme, lauded the volunteers for their contribution to the advancements her daughter has made academically.
“I feel overwhelmed to know that youngsters, who are not from the area, are coming in to help out with our children. My daughter visits the centre weekly for assistance with her homework, especially when I do not know how to do it and as a result she is doing very well,” she tells JIS News.
Ms. McGlashan also made an appeal for entities or organisations to help Rise to Education so they can further the programme, “because it is for a good cause.”
Centre Manager for the Parade Gardens CDC, Lorna Blake, welcomes the assistance provided by the volunteers, noting that often, she would have to be at the centre beyond her working hours, just to ensure that each student completes their assignment or school project.
“The children really need the help. There was a student who was not doing well and as a result of the group’s involvement, her grades have improved significantly. It is a good programme and I wish them all the best as they seek to expand into other communities,” she says.