Books4Kids Jamaica announced today that 11,367 Kindergarten children at 113 schools across Jamaica received a book bag during its 2016 distribution. The initiative reached 2,775 more pre-school Kindergarten children than last year, adding 23 new schools to this year’s distribution list. Sporting the slogan “The future is bright, when you can read and write!”, each child received a book bag containing a 300-page Brain Quest Workbook, a Kindergarten reading book, a pack of crayons and a pencil. Said Shivena Spence-Rankine, parent of a student at Green Pond Infant School, Montego Bay; “We use the Brain Quest Workbook every day, my son loves it. It makes learning fun and it is so easy the grasp the concept”.
The delivery of the back-to-school “starter pack” has become a much anticipated event among the 4 and 5 year old recipients as well as teachers, principals and parents at the many schools. Said Constance Graham, Principal of Montego Bay Infant School; “The book distribution is a blessing, it is something that both the children and I look forward to.” Graham explained that the book bags give the children a sense of ownership; “This is my book, this is my pencil, I am blessed. Don’t touch my bag. This is mine.”
With record participation in this year’s book deliveries, more than 140 company sponsors and volunteers took part in the distribution that – due to an interval caused by Hurricane Matthew– lasted for 7 weeks. Distribution teams criss-crossed the country visiting 113 schools in the 13 parishes of St. James, Trelawny, Hanover, Westmoreland, Kingston & St. Andrews, St. Ann, Portland, St. Mary, St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth. Said Elicia Fowler, Principal of Chatsworth Primary and Infant School in Maroon Town, St. James; “Many of the children are from a poor socio-economic background. Many unemployed parents struggle to buy books.”
Company sponsors that participated in the 2016 book deliveries include Delta Air Lines, AJAS Aviation Services, Grand Palladium Hotels & Resorts, JetBlue Airways, Golden Eye Hotel & Resorts, Billy Craig Insurance Brokers, Half Moon Hotel, Spirit Airlines, Jewels Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort, Jamaica Inn Hotel, RJR Communications Group, Azure Services Malta Ltd., The Cliffs Hotel, Trident Hotel, Huawei Jamaica, Caribbean Immigration Services, Island Entertainment Brands, Hanover Charities, The Orocabessa Foundation, Sponsors & Goodwill Ambassador Alsion Roach, Jamaica Customs Service, Seaboard Marine Shipping and the Early Childhood Commission. Transportation was yet again generously provided by Jamaica Tours Ltd.
The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica and The Honourable Daryl Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister both volunteered for the delivery of books, helping to highlight the importance of Early Childhood Education. Said Prime Minister Holness; “I want to thank Palmyra Foundation for their contribution and encourage other corporate sponsors to make their contribution to our education sector.”
Run by The Palmyra Foundation, it has been a record-breaking year for the Books4Kids Jamaica charitable initiative. Stated Ragni Trotta, Chairperson for the charity, “2016 has been a very successful year for Books4Kids Jamaica, a year of many firsts. We broke the US$100,000 fundraising mark for the first time. A record number of 140 sponsors and volunteers participated in the delivery of books to the children and with 11,367 Kindergarten children receiving the tools they need to learn and flourish this year, we reached our goal of distributing book bags to over 10,000 children in a year.”
Other Individual Sponsors and Volunteers who participated in this year’s book drive include Member of Parliament Dr. Peter Phillips, Kathy Dear, Christopher Clarke, Trina Delisser, Katherine Casserly, Major Haughton, Max Earle, Glen Christian, Michael McMorris, Margaret Kerr, Omar Williams, Stasia Stephenson, Ella and Skylar Hamilton and charity founders team Bob Trotta, Ragni Trotta, Frank Perolli and Arden Hamilton and many, many more.