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Overseas NGO On A Mission To Improve Jamaica’s Inner-City Basic Schools

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Kingston, JA/New York, NY, April 25, 2006 —Jamaica Impact Inc, (JAMPACT), a New York- and South Florida-based service organization, took a team of seven people to Kingston, Jamaica this past week to assess development projects underway on five inner-city basic schools and give hands-on assistance to teachers and principals as part of the organization’s Adopt-A-School program.

Between April 21st and 22 nd, the group visited Coles Basic in Arnett Gardens, Waltham Park’s Crescent Road Basic, Mt. Olive Basic off Red Hills Rd., and St. Steven’s Basic in Olympic Gardens, to assess development projects initiated with funds previously donated by JAMPACT. The projects ranged from the installation of new bathroom and kitchen facilities to the purchase of classroom supplies.

JAMPACT also delivered first-aid kits and sleeping bags to establish sickbays at each of the four schools. These materials were purchased with proceeds from cards, designed by the students, and sold by the JAMPACT during the Christmas holiday.

“The main goal of this adoption process is to have these schools become model institutions of learning in their respective communities,” states JAMPACT president Kamar Samuels. “We plan to do this by embarking on sustainable projects.”

The group, which included community activists and corporate leaders in New York’s Jamaican community, also hosted a special “treat” at St. Steven’s Basic School on Thursday, for children, parents, and members of the Olympic Gardens community. Over fifty students, ages 3-5 were present in school uniform, despite the fact that they were out of school on their Easter break. The community was treated to food donated by Lynn’s Catering, drinks donated by Wisynco, a Bounce- A-Bout, and music.

“It is incredible to see the level of commitment displayed by the teachers and students despite the limited resources,” commented new JAMPACT member Garfield Comrie of Grace Remittance Services, “I am happy to be part of this effort and will do whatever I can to continue to support the organization.”

An overjoyed Stroma Rodney, Principal of St. Steven’s Basic School looks forward to JAMPACT’s annual assistance and involvement, which contributes greatly to the school’s morale. “We are very grateful,” she exclaimed. “The children are happy to see the visitors and the community turns out in large numbers. We count on JAMPACT’s assistance and we enjoy working with them.”

West Central St. Andrew Member of Parliament, Andrew Holness, who was also in attendance, adds “It is great to see that volunteerism remains alive in this country. With JAMPACT’s help, this school has already become one that we can all be very proud of.”

The following day, JAMPACT hosted another community treat at Maxfield Park Basic School and Maxfield Park’s School for Children with Special Needs.

Since its inception in 1998, JAMPACT has been a driving force in engaging the Diaspora to be active in issues in Jamaica, particularly with the Adopt-A-School Program and the Engaging the Diaspora Panel Series. Over the years, JAMPACT has partnered with local organizations such as Chichibud Ltd. to implement projects on the ground in Jamaica. JAMPACT also continues to engage other groups in the Diaspora to participate in the Adopt-A-School program, most recently United For Jamaica based in Atlanta, which has committed to securing computers for the adopted schools.

“If the Adopt-A-School initiative is going to enjoy continued success, strong partnerships play a pivotal role,” stated Samuels. “We welcome the opportunity to work with any organization which places the interest of Jamaican children at the core of its mission.”

You can find more information on JAMPACT at www.jampact.org.

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