In the same way that seeds require water, a suitable temperature and in some instances light to germinate, children need the right conditions to develop and make their dreams become a reality.
Grade Six student Ayo Adereti made the analogy at the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) annual fundraising brunch last Sunday.
“When kids are given care, support and opportunity through education at a young age, they are able to set goals for themselves and develop their dreams,” the Pierre Berton Public School student said. “Giving them education is important to help them attain that goal.”
PACE’s Adopt-A-School program now supports over 300 schools from St. Mary in the north to Clarendon in the south and Portland in the east to Hanover in the west.
For a dollar a day, individuals or groups can participate in the program. The annual $365 donation is sent to the sponsored school where the principal, community leaders and parents determine how the funds should be utilized. It’s estimated that PACE enriches and empowers the lives of almost 12,000 young children annually.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada Sheila Sealy Monteith praised the organization for the work it’s doing to improve educational standards.
“When we invest in early childhood education, we equip our schools appropriately,” she said. “We provide for teacher training, we foster parental involvement and thus we are doing the right thing. To be sure, elementary, secondary and tertiary education are all extremely important, yet we need also to start at the beginning so that we can have better GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test is Jamaica’s national high school exams) results, remove the need for remedial teacher training and so that we can empower our children to make better choices at every stage of the educational spectrum. I take great pride in saluting PACE Canada for doing the right thing.”
Former banking executive and Ontario government Minister Mary Anne Chambers is stepping down as PACE president next year after serving four years in that role. She said she’s leaving with fond memories of tremendous demonstrations of human kindness.
“More than 1200 schools have been able to acquire playground equipment so that children can develop physical fitness, critical life skills and positive attitudes; close to 55 schools have installed toilets, urinals and wash basins; 100 early childhood practitioners have been given the opportunity to receive formal training and certification and some 340 boxes of school supplies have been purchased from Sangster’s Bookstore and delivered to adopted basic schools and early childhood institutions,” she said.
During Chambers’ tenure, an estimated $400,000 in sponsorship donations have been provided to adopted basic schools and early childhood institutions, creative and state-of-the-art learning resources for the provision of parenting education programs, and early childhood curriculum workshops delivered through early childhood resource centres in Jamaica’s 14 parishes are serving 125,000 kids, 9,000 early childhood practitioners and 5,200 parents annually and 45,000 workbooks have been produced and delivered to basic schools and early childhood centres.
“Dr. Ralph Masi Family Health Fund, which funded the workbooks and the other learning resources, along with Scotiabank, GraceKennedy Ontario and TD Bank Group were recognized with Community Builder Awards.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada Robert Ready attended the event.