Anderson builds on ROC Foundation
It is only in its second year, but organisers of the 2015 Reach One Child (ROC) Kids Fest on Sunday believe the event has improved tremendously.
Spearheaded by singer Cherine Anderson, this year, the event was moved to a new venue, the grounds of the Jessie Ripoll Primary School in Kingston. A proud Anderson told The Gleaner that she was happy that the organisation was able to improve on last year's efforts, providing a more fun-filled experience for the children.
"This year we have rides - bounce-a-bouts, merry-go-round and others. Last year we couldn't do any of this," she said.
Anderson also explained the reason behind the venue change.
"It's closer to the area where I am from, Rockfort," she said."Last year it was at a smaller venue, which was more intimate, but we wanted to take it closer to the area and the schools we were serving."
Although ROC reports an improvement from last year, Anderson expressed disappointment at the level of support received from the community. The singer said she would have loved if more persons had turned out, especially because the money collected would go toward funding the scholarship programme for children from these same communities.
"It could be a lot better. We would love to host a free event, but we can't," she said. "We don't have major sponsors, so all that you are seeing here today is as a result of the team's efforts. It's always hard because I can't convince someone to spend on an event to benefit their own kids. We will just have to scale down where we have to and help where we can and, beyond that, we just keep moving forward."
Despite being disappointed by the low attendance, Anderson said she is satisfied with the growth of the foundation itself.
"The ROC Fest is just one thing the foundation puts on. We also have mentorship and volunteer programmes that have grown and that is what we want to see - that is what's important. Having children participate in meaningful activities is more fulfilling than having this venue filled, because numbers don't necessarily speak to growth," she said.
Whitney Givans, marketing and branding manager of the ROC Foundation agreed. "It is a young event, but it's growing. If you compare last year and this year, we have improved a lot. I wouldn't be able to give you numbers and for us that doesn't always speak to the success of anything. What is important is that the children are having fun and the foundation can continue to help with funding the education of a few of these children," Givans said.
Anderson also urged corporate Jamaica to support more initiatives like the ROC Foundation. The event also included a concert which featured a star-studded line-up, including Sizzla, Kevin Downswell and Cherine Anderson.