Sun | May 26, 2019

Poor no more - Lascelles Chin pledges $50m annual injection to rescue youth from poverty

Published:Friday | February 1, 2019 | 12:19 AM
Kevon McLeish (right), one of the success stories of the LASCO Foundation, draws laughter from (from left)Stephen Newland, director, LASCO Foundation; Lascelles Chin, chairman, LASCO Foundation and LASCO group of companies; and Professor Rosalea Hamilton, chief executive, LASCO Foundation, at Thursday’s Gleaner Editors’ Forum.

Business mogul Lascelles Chin has committed to pumping up to $50 million annually into his newly established LASCO Chin Foundation, the broad objective of which is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and crime.

“Our philosophy is to help Jamaicans who need help. It cannot be that you are making profit and skim it off and don’t help people,” Chin declared yesterday during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum at the media house’s North Street offices.

Chin, founder and executive chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies and chairman of the foundation, noted that over the last two decades, LASCO has spent millions to reward the efforts of public servants such as teachers, nurses and police officers through various programmes.

However, he contended that there was still a burning desire to do much more, helping the country’s at-risk youths in particular.

“We (LASCO) don’t worship money. We make enough to be competitive, so we believe in giving back in this way. What we are attempting to do is for the long term. It is not easy, it is not cheap, but we want to make a success of it so that we will have other companies either joining us or doing it separately,” he reasoned.

“Once people see what you’re doing, they’ll help you more, and we are okay with that because the foundation is for helping, and we want it to be much bigger,” he reasoned.

Chief executive officer of the new charitable arm of the LASCO Affiliated Companies Professor Rosalea Hamilton detailed that the foundation has set in motion two core interventions guided by a Sustainable Socio-Economic Intervention (SSI) model.

One is an SSI Entrepreneurship Programme that is a two-pronged initiative geared at providing beneficiaries with entrepreneurial training and opportunities over a six-month period. The second phase assists participants with establishing or improving their business through a range of hand-holding interventions for five to 10 years.

On the other hand, there is an SSI Schooling Support Programme that will target at-risk youth from as early as 10 years of age and partner with primary schools to identify students due to sit the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) who are unlikely to overcome the extreme risk factors affecting their school performance unless they receive assistance. Each student will be offered a consistent, long-term, professional relationship, for approximately 10 years, focused on personal development goals, which will also support the youth in his/her school, home, and community.

“The thinking is that we can identify those kids most at risk of being trapped in a life of poverty and criminality, then we ultimately can tackle, from a long-term perspective, the crime problem we have. So we see our intervention as a long-term, sustainable solution to crime and poverty,” reasoned Hamilton.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com