D Frank making strides
IT ALL started with one woman's dream to have children in her district get an education despite the odds.
With approximately 10 children, Gloria McKenzie turned the dream into reality in 2000 by setting up a school where she had lived, naming it the D Frank Early Childhood Institute after her grandfather, who had donated the land.
But as the population grew, the need for a new facility to accommodate the budding young minds increased.
"We moved from 10 to 20 students, and it was a struggle because we needed a bigger facility. We were happy when Food For The Poor (FFP) showed an interest in us, and we got this building," said McKenzie.
With the partnership of the Kind Hearts Foundation and FFP, the students of the basic school were moved into a new building in 2012. Boasting three classrooms, a fully furnished kitchen, a sick bay, a teacher's office, a teacher's bathroom and children's bathroom - the environment was now more conducive for learning.
"We have moved from 20 children to 50, and last year we had our first graduation, where 12 students graduated, and we still track the students' progress and they are doing very well ... .
"All this could not have been possible without the help of Kind Hearts and Food For The Poor. In addition, we must thank our member of parliament (Peter Bunting), who had the entire property fenced for the safety of the children and the parents and community members who continue to support the activities of the school," said McKenzie.
The school has evolved, receiving much commendation from stakeholders and a continued pledge to be supported.
"When you come, you can see the reaction on the children's faces. They are comfortable, they have a bathroom, they don't need to go to a pit toilet or go to borrow someone else's bathroom. They have a canteen where a cooked meal is provided every day and the environment enhances growth and it enhances learning ... and that is what we are all about, moulding and shaping the future of our nation," said social outreach manager at FFP, Marcia Hall Walker.
Kind Hearts Foundation is to build its fourth basic school with help from We Got The Runs Fitness Club.
The fitness club is to host its second staging of the Colour Me Happy Run on January 24. All proceeds will go to Kind Hearts Foundation.
The event labelled 'Jamaica's First Run in Colour', will see participants completing a 4.5-kilometre run through Hope Gardens in St Andrew, while being be showered with a variety of coloured powders along the route.