A Space Journey in Jamaica
Great news! We found Space! We are breathing a sigh of relief. Our Scholarship Recipients continue to thrive in high school and are excited about the Learning Center.
Sometimes it pays to take a second look and re-evaluate the purpose. For the past year, our CEF team has been trying to find a good space in the right location that will work well for the Learning & Technology Center in Kingston, Jamaica.
Because our Scholarship Recipients attend different high schools at various locations throughout Kingston and St. Andrew, we tried to find a space that was more central so that our students would converge in the middle at our Learning Center when their schools let out. It would have been much easier to locate space in a particular inner-city neighborhood, but such a location would have denied easy access to most of our students, and there were major security concerns. Therefore, we concluded that the centrally located areas of Half-Way Tree or Cross Roads would work best. Unfortunately, the properties we viewed in those central locations were very expensive and unaffordable for us. And the properties that were reasonably priced for our charity to afford were broom closets!
Frustrated, we started to look outside of the central locations. One of the spaces we viewed is located in downtown Kingston. Physically, the building with some improvements would work well for the Center and it was spacious and in a charitable price range. However, we did not envision going all the way to downtown Kingston, nor did we want to. We thought it wasn’t very central and we had some security concerns, and it is surrounded by depressed communities.
Several months later, after viewing additional spaces in exhaustion, we re-visited the downtown Kingston building. One of the things we noticed is that although it is downtown, it would be easily accessible to most of our students, because many buses go there. Importantly, there are several other schools around that area, where those students are also in desperate need of access to technology, not only our scholarship recipients. It was settled. We walked in the space a few days ago, and knew we had found our new Center home!
By creating the Learning & Technology Center downtown Kingston, CEF will now reach an additional population of disadvantaged children who really need this support! We are excited! As our team work on the new space, we will be sending you photos and updates on the progress.
March 18th is 30% Bonus Day on Global Giving!
GlobalGiving's first matching opportunity of 2015 is Wednesday, March 18th! They are offering a 30% match on all donations up to $1,000 per donor per project, while funds remain. There is $60,000 available in matching and matching begins at 9:00 EDT and lasts until funds run out or 23:59:59 EDT. There is also $2,000 in bonus prizes available!
Please help us and donate to CEF Learning & Technology Center on March 18th, so that we can raise needed funds through this great matching opportunity! Please donate early, as the matching funds go quickly and we need all the help we can get to make our Learning & Technology Center an excellent one.
Thank you for your continued support! You are making the education of brilliant poor children possible.
The Caribbean Education Foundation (CEF) team recently traveled to Jamaica to assess best practices for the launch of our Learning & Technology Center. As a result, the team conducted visits to an Education Center in an inner-city community in Kingston, Jamaica, somewhat similar to the Learning Center we will launch.
We wanted to gain insight on the inner operations of the Education Center, meet with the children, parents and assess their experiences in utilizing the space. In addition, the CEF team met with the Center Director and conducted in-depth interviews on its internal workings, which proved extremely insightful.
The Center consists of a Library, Homework Area, 2 Computer Labs, Classroom, Area for Art Projects such as Basket Weaving and Painting; and a large outdoor space for playing and activities.
We learned that the children used the space right after school to do homework, while other students received tutoring in subject areas in which they struggled. The space was right next to an all age school, which provided a great convenience for both the children and a few teachers who volunteered tutoring services at the Center. Likewise, due to the location, the clients at the Center ranged from small children to older students. The Center made an impressive use of the space to help the entire community, not only children, as it also offered Reading and Literacy Classes to many adults in the evenings, after the children had gone home.
Overall, the Center seemed to be making a huge impact on the students who used the space and is helping to transform the community.
Although our CEF Learning & Technology Center will be different in several ways, as we will focus on high school students from ages 12-18 and emphasize technological skills development, our team gained invaluable knowledge from spending several hours at the Education Center, which we will implement when we open this year.
We are very excited about our launch and you will be the first to know once everything is all set to open our center doors!
Thank you very much for your continued support! You make education of brilliant, poor children possible.
ROMILLA is 12 years old. She is brilliant. She is poor. Romilla's goal is to become Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Romilla is one of hundreds of disadvantaged children who will benefit the CEF Learning & Technology Center for Youth when it opens in June 2014 in Kingston, Jamaica! Romilla has no access to technology at home. There is no computer or internet access. At high school, there are a small number of computers, and students on Romilla's grade level do not have access. With meaningful access to technology, we do not know if Romilla will continue on the path of politics or engage in technological endeavors as a profession. It is very early and she is young, but either way, Romilla is determined to excel. The latest Grade Report shows she is an "A" student in high school.
You may have previously seen our 25 Caribbean Education Foundation (CEF) Scholarship recipients' photographs and names, and even read some of their biographies. But, you have not read their own hand-writings and see their reasoning and critical thinking skills. Romilla’s essay provides this insight.
Romilla is currently in Grade 7 at Ardenne High, a top public high school in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2013, Romilla was awarded a CEF Paul Bogle Scholarship for the 2013-2014 year, so that she could attend high school. Public High school is NOT FREE in Jamaica. High School begins in Grade 7. As an "A" student and "Prefect", in June 2013, Romilla graduated from St. Peter Claver Primary School, which is located in a rough inner-city neighborhood in Kingston. Romilla's mother is a "working-poor" Seamstress, as she only earns $200 U.S. dollars per month, the minimum wage in Jamaica. Public High school costs $1,500 U.S. dollars each year to attend.
The following Essay in attachment is 1 of 4 essays that Romilla wrote in her CEF Scholarship Application.
QUESTION: What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
As you read in her essay, Romilla is critically thinking about professions that are in shortage in Jamaica; and where her skills could best help to develop the country. In this vein, she aims to be Prime Minister, with an articulate and life-changing platform of access to free education for all. It is evident that Romilla has a humanitarian heart and wants to use her gifts and opportunities to help others.
There is an enormous shortage of people in technology in Jamaica, primarily due to a lack of exposure and access. Once Romilla gains access, exposure and skills in technology through CEF Learning & Technology Center, the sky will be her limit.
Thank you for your generosity in helping Romilla and hundreds of poor children like her to have access to technology, and opportunities to transform their lives.
As the Caribbean Education Foundation (CEF) gears up for the much-anticipated opening of our Learning Center, we would like to introduce you to one of our Education Champions, Ms. Tanya McLennon, CEF Student Operations Manager for Jamaica.
Ms. Tanya McLennon has exemplary served the Caribbean Education Foundation since January 2010 and is entering her 4-year Anniversary in January 2014. She is the Student Operations Manager for Jamaica - - the main liaison among the student scholarship recipients, their parents/guardians, the primary schools from which they graduate, and high schools they enter for the next education journey.
Ms. McLennon explains the reasons she works with CEF, “It is wonderful to be a part of the Caribbean Education Foundation, because I witness daily how CEF is truly making a difference in each child’s education and the lives of poor children. Without an education in Jamaica, you are going nowhere. In order to get any job, including lower level, they require applicants to have passed subjects on the Caribbean Examinations. Job notices say, applicants must have passed “5 CXC subjects”. You cannot take CXC with without education and money to pay exam fees. Education is critical to success in Jamaica and poor children need an opportunity. CEF provides that opportunity.”
On any given day, you may find Ms. McLennon calling scholarship recipients to make sure they have everything required for high school; taking CEF Scholars to bookstores to purchase their textbooks and school supplies; meeting with high school bursars to ensure the school fees are paid; meeting with tutors to get assistance for a few students struggling in Math; conducting primary school tours; or meeting with Principals, Teachers, and Grade Six Coordinators on students' status with the CEF Paul Bogle Scholarship Applications; and more. Wow! Ms. McLennon does so much for CEF and the children! Did we mention she is a Volunteer?
According to CEF's President & CEO, Nikiki Bogle, Esq., "Tanya McLennon is CEF's Education Champion in Jamaica. Ms. McLennon does solid hard work with complete dedication; and always strives for excellence. She is invaluable to our student operations on the ground in Jamaica."
These are among the many reasons why CEF is very excited to have Ms. McLennon as the Learning Center Manager when we open our doors in 2014! She is perfect for the position and up to the task. The students love her and so do we! CEF knows that the Learning Center will be in excellent hands.
On the Learning Center Management position, Ms. McLennon smiles and exclaims, “I am truly honoured! The Learning Centre is a natural extension of what CEF already does to help educate poor children. CEF Scholars will have access to technology, tutoring, and more, which is essential for success. I am particularly excited, because I will get to spend more time with the children to help them. I love the fact that CEF Scholars are bright, and simply need help to get their education. Plus, they are so grateful for the assistance; and have been a joy to be around.”
Ms. McLennon explains why she has volunteered each year, for almost 4 years with CEF: “Service and giving your time is important. You may not have the financial resources, but making the time to assist a life-changing cause is important to me. CEF is changing children’s lives for the better and I am happy to be of service to help make this happen in Jamaica.”
CEF is extremely grateful for the dedicated volunteers such as Ms. McLennon, and our wonderful supporters like you all, who are helping to make the CEF Learning Center a success for our children! We need your continued support to make the Learning Center a reality in 2014.
Thank you very much for your generosity! You make education of brilliant, poor children possible.
Our Caribbean Education Foundation (CEF) team members were in Jamaica in Spring of this year to see our scholarship recipients and finalize things for the Learning & Technology Center. We visited a number of spaces. A few of the spaces looked very promising to host the Learning Center for our children.
In our last update, we told you that CEF was working with some volunteer management students at Bryant University to help CEF get the necessary supplies for the Center. Thanks to their efforts, we received received 10 donated computers for the Center!
We also met with eight of our CEF Paul Bogle Scholars to see how they were doing and what their additional needs might be. The children's responses were overwhelming that a Learning & Technolgy Center would provide the anchor they needed to excel and be better prepared for the global technological environment. The biggest issues are a lack of computers and consistent electricity to do homework.
Our team is hoping to launch the Center in October, with your support!
Please make a donation to the Learning Center Project today! A recurring donation of $25 or more per month will go a long way to ensure the Center gets up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your help.
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