Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Promising children have prayers answered

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 8:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Principal of Foundation Prep Latoya Bennett (right) with Valney Swaby and his son Valney Jnr.
Arleen Campbell (left) and her grandson Zaher Barrett with their benefactor, Latoya Bennett.
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Thanks to principal of Foundation Prep School and newest member of the James and Friends Programme, Latoya Bennett, two students from the Effortville Basic School, in Clarendon will soon be moving on to a preparatory school.

For the parents who were struggling to acquire even the most basic necessities for their children to attend primary school, the news came as a wonderful surprise and answers to their prayers.

Both students will, as of September be attending the Foundation Prep School and will have their uniform, books and lunch taken care of.

"Basically, all they will have to do is just "bathe and show up," said Otis James, conceptualiser of James and Friends.

"I just wanted to do something special for the community of Farm to show the parents that people outside the community love and care about them. The violence in the community should not stop the youths from getting a chance to further themselves in life," said James.

The scholarship recipients - Valney Swaby and Zaher Barrett - both six years old, have been maintaining good grades at their school. Their selection was driven by their special financial needs.

Swaby's father, Valney Snr, who sells callaloo in May Pen said it has been a challenge keeping his son in school. His meagre earnings must be shared between his son and daughter.

"I am fighting with my children and I won't allow the community they live in to have an effect on them. I am so happy about this scholarship as it takes a load off my shoulder," he told Rural Xpress.

Valney said he wants to become a doctor when he grows up. He also described school as being "fun".

Zaher, who has experienced a lot of pain in his short life, having lost his mother tragically, is being raised by his grandmother.

"I want to be a fireman," he said.

"When people house burning down, I can spray water on it," he said.

His grandmother Arleen Campbell could hardly find the words to describe how grateful she was.

TAKEN A LOAD OFF

"I just can't believe after all the ups and down I am getting this.

I didn't know how the expenses was going to be met going back to school in September. This is an answer to my prayer," she said.

Campbell who also has three other children ages 13, 12 and 8 in her care said the scholarship has taken a load off her.

"I am so thankful. From the bottom of my heart I thank the principal and the programme for reaching out like this," she said.

Bennett expressed happiness that she was able to give back in this fashion.

She said she channelled her help through the James and Friends programme because she liked the impact it has been having on the lives of children.