The Palmyra Foundation announced today the completion of its 2012 book distribution, during which more than 50 sponsors and volunteers personally helped deliver bookbags to 5,800 children at 76 schools. This year, the charity added more than 30 community schools to their already substantial list of schools, distributing 25,000 books valued at over US$170,000.
Said Palmyra Foundation Board Member Frank Perolli; “We wish to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who made this year’s distribution possible.” Perolli highlighted program sponsors Dale and Kimberlyn Jones from Paul Mitchell The School in Nashville, Tennessee, who travelled to Jamaica with two other couples to join this year’s book distribution. The group, which included 5 ex-pat Jamaicans with a strong wish to help create a better future for the children of their native country, personally delivered books to 850 children at 9 schools in Trelawny, St. James and Westmoreland.
Other sponsors critical to this year’s effort were the teams from Seaboard Freight & Shipping who brought the books to the island and local transportation company Jamaica Tours Limited (JTL) who helped bring teams and books to the many schools, as well as program sponsors Crestone Capital Advisors and Landmark Associates. “We also wish to send a special thank you to Scholastic Publishers, which donated 10,000 free books to the 2012 distribution,” said Perolli.
The foundation also thanks The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Finance, The Jamaican Customs Department and Keith Thorpe Ltd. for their assistance in getting the books to Jamaica, as well as the Community Police Reading Program who helped in the distribution effort by bringing books to the children at 6 schools in the Montego Bay area.
A highlight of this year’s book distribution took place at Somerton All Age & Infant School, where former Prime Minister The Most Honourable P.J. Patterson joined the ranks of the charity’s volunteers on Wednesday September 19th. Handing out bookbags to the children at his alma mater while rubbing shoulders with former Speaker of the House Violet Neilson who hails from the same primary school, Mr. Patterson lauded the effort of The Palmyra Foundation. Said Jamaica’s longest serving Prime Minister; “I will never forget that whatever I was able to eventually achieve, rested on the pillars of sound education which began right here in Somerton school.”
Said the former Prime Minister; “The sooner we can begin to provide for our children by teaching them the skills of numeracy and literacy the better it will be for the nation of Jamaica. Each year the presentation by The Palmyra Foundation has been extended. It is growing bigger and contributing more to the development of our children and I hope that it will continue to grow from strength to strength as we seek to build the future of Jamaica with education as the critical key.”
This year, the charity accomplished it’s qualitative goal of maintaining an 85% average success rate on the “Palmyra Foundation Assessment” among children who received books. A remarkable 86% average success rate on the test was measured among 1510 Kindergarten children who received books from the charity at the beginning of the school year, which evaluates the children’s reading, writing, math and science skills. The results were praised by the Jamaica Observer newspaper, that stated; ‘Palmyra Foundation deserves high commendation for its book distribution programme under the banner, “The future is bright when you can read and write.”
A large part of the charity’s success is due to the fact that the children love the interactive and colourful 300 page BrainQuest Workbooks, which covers the core curriculum of Alphabet, Numbers, Phonics, Shapes and Colors. Paired with supporting reading books from Scholastic Publishers, the largest publisher of textbooks in the US, the overall effect has proven to be immediate. Starting in 2013, all schools who receive books from the charity will be required to administer the Assessments to their students, thereby actively helping to monitor results.
The 2012 distribution was featured on TVJ’s “Smile Jamaica” morning program, on TV channel CVM’s program “CVM at Sunrise”, in The Gleaner and Hospitality Jamaica newspaper.
With this year’s book distribution now completed, The Palmyra Foundation immediately begins its efforts to raise funds for next year’s books distribution with an Online Charity Auction planned for March 2013. Among 100 fantastic items on last year’s “virtual auction block” were DELTA and Jetblue Airways airline tickets, luxury vacation stays in Hawaii, Bali, Miami, Colorado, Italy, Spain, Dubai and Jamaica, a Royal Caribbean cruise, concert tickets and meet & greet with the world’s most revered flutist Sir James Galway in Washington DC. Revealed Perolli; “In 2012, our Online Charity Auction website had more than 11,000 visitors in a mere 3 weeks, and we hope to make next year’s auction even better. Please help us raise money for next year’s books through donations to our Online Charity Auction, whether it might be vacations stays, tickets, jewelry, “meet & greets” with famous personalities, sports memorabilia, art or restaurant vouchers.”