US charity supports five Jamaican schools
The Atlanta-based Integrity Children's Fund (ICF) has contributed over US$700,000 to support five educational institutions in Jamaica, since its inception over sixteen years ago.
According to its president and founder, the retired Major Karl Chambers, the five institutions that have benefited are the Jones Town Learning Center; Operation Restoration Christian School in Western Kingston; Jacob's Well Basic School in Salt Marsh, Trelawny; Peter's Rock in Upper St. Andrew; and Teamwork Basic School in Montego Bay. ICF contributes over US$50,000 a year to support these institutions.
Chambers, who was giving an overview of the organisation's performance at its 'Evening of Elegance' - a black-tie affair at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, United States earlier this month - explained that the fund's mission is to break the familiar cycle of ruined lives of vulnerable youngsters in turbulent communities like Western Kingston, through education and spiritual redemption.
"Operating with over a hundred active volunteers and fundraisers in the United States and Jamaica, the ICF is dedicated to funding programmes to correct the plague of teenage illiteracy in Jamaica.
We have so far educated over forty five hundred 'at-risk' students," Major Chambers said, telling the audience of over 500 that the organisation was formed in response to the problem of the relatively high illiteracy rates among Jamaican teenagers.
He paid tribute to the other founding members besides himself - Marcia Sutherland, Wayde and Arlene Marr, Dr. Chris Parker, Jewel Parker, and Marcia Chambers - who had all committed themselves to providing financial support for the Jones Town School. This commitment gave birth and vision to the idea of the Integrity Children's Fund (ICF) which was incorporated in October 2001.
HONOURED FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION
Chambers pointed out that since the launch of the organisation, ICF has supported five schools - three of which were in Kingston, one in Montego Bay and one in Trelawny.
Looking to the future, he shared the organisation's plans to provide educational support for children in all 14 parishes of Jamaica within the next ten years.
The organisation is operated by a nine-member board, namely, president Karl Chambers; vice president Dr. Chris Parker; volunteer affairs director Marcia Chambers; secretary Audrey Earl; treasurer Chris Earl; corporate sponsorship director Sophia Hew-Woolridge; education director Dr. Verna Ramdeen-Brown; fundraising director Gibson White; and call-a-thon director Derrick Harvey.
During the Evening of Elegance, 17 individuals and four organisations were recognised for their contribution and support to Integrity Children's Fund.
The Evening of Elegance also featured Jamaica's songbird Karen Smith and trumpeter Dwight Richards, who delivered a commanding performance and took the audience on a delightful trip down memory lane with several Jamaican renditions.