JIS News

Women for PACE (Canada), a Jamaican charitable organization, recently launched its 2006 Christmas toy and book drive through which funds are raised to support early childhood education in Jamaica.
President of the organization, Lorna King, in her remarks at the event held at the Jamaican Consulate General in Toronto, said that PACE has adopted more than 180 basic schools in Jamaica.
According to Ms. King, PACE focused on early childhood education in recognition of the importance of the first years of schooling to a child’s development.
“We promote early childhood education because we believe that the love and desire to learn should be fostered and cultivated early in life. If a child’s first educational experience produces that desire for learning, the child will grow up equipped to break the cycle of poverty and generations to come will benefit. Our children are our future and they need our help and support,” she pointed out.
In order to reduce shipping costs, PACE is encouraging monetary donations instead of toys and books. The funds are then used to make purchases in Jamaica of educational supplies and books. “General donations made to the toy drive will be pooled and PACE will choose the parishes and send Christmas boxes to the schools in those parishes from this fund. Last year, we sent 30 boxes to schools in Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and St. Catherine,” said Ms. King.
Those wanting to do more for their adopted school have the option of purchasing a Christmas box at a cost of Cdn$100 through Sangsters Book Store, which will deliver the boxes in January when school reopens.
The President also thanked all the supporters, who, during the year, contributed to the organization’s success, including Air Canada employee Patricia South, who garnered a Cdn$20,000 donation from her employer for the group and Wayne Spence, who secured 30 computers from Toronto Dominion Bank, for the adopted schools in Jamaica.
She further lauded the contribution of the late cultural icon, Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), who served as patron of the group since its inception almost 20 years ago.
“Miss Lou was an icon and a citizen of the world, who influenced many with her wit, her joy, her laughter and her creativity,” said Ms. King. “We at PACE were blessed to have (had) her as a patron. She brought fun and excitement to our events and was always generous with her time and talents. Her legacy will live forever in our hearts,” she stated. Miss Lou and her husband, Eric Coverley, had adopted the Mission House Basic School in Gordon Town, St. Andrew, where they had lived for many years.
Welcoming the gathering to the Jamaican Consulate, Consul General Anne-Marie Bonner, who also serves as honorary patron of the group, expressed appreciation for the work of the organization and pledged her support to their continued success.
The Consulate came alive with the playing of the steel pan and the singing of Christmas carols led by Grace Carter-Henry Lyon, the musical director of the folk group Heritage Singers.