Real Estate Board assists children's home
The Strathmore Gardens Place of Safety in Spanish Town, St Catherine, has received a facelift and much-needed supplies just in time for Christmas.
Members of staff of the Real Estate Board (REB)/Commission of Strata Corporations, travelled to the facility on December 8 for a 'work' day and donation of items.
They painted the entire building and handed over food, clothing and other essential supplies for the children.
A privately owned and operated facility, Strathmore Gardens Place of Safety cares for children up to age 13. It provides early-childhood and special-needs education on-site through its Leigh's Learning Centre.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the REB, Sandra Watson Garrick, said that the support was spearheaded by the Staff Engagement and Corporate Outreach (SECO) Committee, and was in keeping with the entity's corporate social responsibility.
She said that in September, members of the SECO met with the staff and residents to identify the needs.
"They invited us over and showed us their needs. We discovered that they had more than 40 (children) in their care. We saw that their building really needed painting and they also needed some supplies," she said.
Watson Garrick said that a large box was placed in the lobby area of the board's Trafalgar Road head office to accept donations of tinned food, dried goods and other non-perishables, along with toiletries.
"Staff were also asked to pick up additional items of groceries whenever they shopped and to place them in the box, which we gave to the home," she said.
Watson Garrick said that the employees were excited about the project and "everyone wanted to be involved".
She said that the reaction of the children was very encouraging, noting that even the little ones wanted to get involved in the painting of the building.
Watson Garrick says the REB believes in giving back, and in February 2016, made a generous donation of food and toiletries to the St Monica's Home for the Elderly in White Marl, St Catherine. The previous year, the entity paved a part of the yard at St Monica's.
CULTURE OF HELPING
"Despite the fiscal constraints, we do make an attempt to assist socially in whatever small way we can. It is always important for us to realise that regardless of our own personal circumstances, there are those who are far more in need, and once we realise this, we must find a way to assist others, who are particularly vulnerable. That is the kind of organisational culture we want to build," Watson Garrick explained.
She says consideration will be given to providing further assistance to the home.
She is encouraging other corporate entities to support facilities like Strathmore Gardens, not only by donating money, but their time and efforts.
"The need is great, and if children don't feel like they have hope or are cared for, they become desperate. We want to give and give with all our hearts because it's in the best interest of our children and our nation. It's a good Christmas gift, but the real gift is ours as we got a real good feeling doing this," she says.
'We're overjoyed by the support'
Head Supervisor at the Strathmore Gardens Place of Safety, Marcia Tucker, said that she was overjoyed by the support to the home.
"The children like when people come in to assist us and show them love. We are here every day, so when others come in and do something for them, it makes them feel good," she adds.
"Thank you very much for choosing Strathmore Gardens for your Christmas charity; we really appreciate what you have done," she says.
Tucker is encouraging others "to do the same, not just at Christmas time but throughout the year".
Inspector with the REB for more than 11 years, Patrick Clough, says the staff was happy to help.
"It's a wonderful project. Anything one can do for children is always great. Whatever we can do to enhance their lives we are willing to do, so it's really a pleasure to be doing this," he said.