With 35 students already benefiting from scholarships through Cherine's Reach One Child (ROC) Foundation, the singer said plans are in high gear for the ROC Kids Fest that is held to raise funds for the foundation.
For the past 10 years, Cherine says she has been helping children in various communities with the help of Patrick Lindsay. However, in 2013, she started the ROC Scholarship programme that has been able to assist 35 students.
"We've always been giving back to kids in the inner city for the past 10 years. I wouldn't have been able to go to college in the United States without support," she said, noting that many children have difficulty attending school because of financial constraints.
Although the scholarship programme has only assisted 35 children so far, Cherine says that they received more than 200 applicants last year. The application period for this year began earlier this month and will end on June 30. The application can be done online at reachonechild.org/scholarships.
Every year, ROC accepts scholarship applications from sixth grade students, which include essays, transcripts, recommendations, and proof of financial need. This is followed by interviews with the short-listed applicants. The renewable scholarships generally covers full tuition, uniform, school supplies, and textbooks.
Based on the cost to fund such a massive venture, Cherine says the ROC Kids Fest is held yearly to raise funds. This year, it will be held on July 4 at the Jessie Ripoll Primary School, 26 South Camp Road, Kingston, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day will be filled with activities like a games room, face painting, live art, rock climbing, a university village, and a ROC village. The day will close off with performances from Sizzla, Cherine Anderson, Kevin Downswell, Ikaya, Nickesha Barnes, Mario Evon, Ch4se, Nina Karle, Devin Di Dakta, and others.
"We create an environment where people can come together and support the child. It is a good opportunity for parents to come with their kids," Cherine told The Gleaner.
With the show not yet held, Cherine stressed that she is unable to state the number of new kids the event would be able to assist this year, especially since the previous 35 scholarships are renewable.
"We have been able to do 35 since we started in 2013, but we do everything with what we can afford. We can't know how many (kids it will assist) until we know how much money we raise from the event. You can't spread yourself thin," she said.
And although they have also been able to raise some funds through smaller ventures like bake sales and cook-outs, Cherine says she welcomes the ongoing support.
"We want the corporate entities who are coming on board to roll up their sleeves, get your feet a little dirty, know the kids by name. That's how involved ROC is," she said, adding that volunteers made the various ventures possible.
While ROC Kids Fest will be held on July 4, Cherine noted that the foundation is very active throughout the year. She says the mentorship school tour is done in 25 primary schools throughout the year, and there is also the ROC Club International at the Rollington Town Primary School with 125 students between ages six and 12 years old.
There is also YESS (Youth Empowering Self on Society) that is aimed at the children who are already on scholarship. She added that there is also the internship programme through which the children get the opportunity to intern in the fields they want to study.
"It's an encouragement for them to be the change they want to see in their country," she said.
But with her foundation, Cherine says her emphasis is not so much on financial support, but more on persons volunteering their time.
"We realise that going in and giving your time is very helpful. We understand the value of going into schools and giving your time," she told The Gleaner.