Fifteen volunteers from the Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation visited four schools within the Corporate Area for Read Across Jamaica Day (RAJD); leading interactive reading sessions with students across grade levels and donating hundreds of books and other much-needed school supplies to the partner institutions.
The institutions were Christians Early Childhood Academy, Callaloo Mews Basic School, Seaview Gardens Primary, and Cockburn Gardens Primary.
“Parents often cannot play a role in students’ education because they cannot read; this is why initiatives that promote youth literacy are so important,” said Sherica Christian, Christians Early Childhood Academy principal as she welcomed volunteers from the D&G Foundation last Tuesday (May 9).
Christian, who was grateful for the support from the D&G Foundation volunteers, explained that activities such as this help to bolster their reading program, which is tailored to the needs of the students and interventions created to improve student performance.
“Literacy is everything, and we are still facing a learning loss from the pandemic. Up to last September, we had a major issue with children missing school for varying reasons. We got support then from the D&G Foundation, which we used to fund the breakfast program. This programme was the first boost to attendance and academic performance. We then did student assessments and diagnosis, which informed our tailored action plans. The school also engages the parents to show them the best way to address students’ weak areas. Finally, we have a reading club at the school to engage students in a fun way using drama and other methods.”
Students at Seaview Gardens Primary were overjoyed to welcome the D&G Foundation team, with whom they have become well acquainted since the launch of the three-year $8 million Seaview Gardens Literacy Initiative funded by the foundation.
The school’s principal, Sangieanna Reid-Prince, highlighted the progress made during the programme.
“Developing strong literacy skills in children is a critical element on the path to education. We have seen major improvements in our grades two-five students since the start of the program in September 2022. The strides we have made in literacy have exceeded our expectations. Reading is no longer seen as a thing the students must do but instead as an activity they eagerly participate in. We’re forever grateful to the D&G Foundation for their continued support of Seaview Gardens Primary.”
There was also a sense of excitement and energy at Callaloo Mews Basic School and Cockburn Gardens Primary as students demonstrated high enthusiasm and involvement in reading and comprehension activities with volunteers.
Both institutions are beneficiaries of the D&G Foundation’s ‘No Mind Left Behind’ initiative, which supports academic and student welfare initiatives.
“Improvements in literacy reflect across all subject areas – It’s the foundation of learning, as it affects a child’s ability to grasp other areas, as well as their disposition towards learning as a whole,” said D&G Foundation accountant Dennis Beckford.
He continued, “The D&G Foundation is passionate about community development, which is why we ensure all our initiatives are designed to provide long-term benefits to recipients and their communities. Much of this begins with a strong educational foundation because it leads to stronger communities and a stronger Jamaica in the long run.”