Help! - St Patrick's Foundation seeks support
The St Patrick's Foundation has been playing a pivotal role in community development and training to residents of several inner-city communities, including Seaview Gardens, Riverton City, Olympic Gardens and Waterhouse, but has been finding it difficult to extend its services over the years due to a lack of funding.
Founded in 1994 by the late Monsignor Richard Albert, the foundation provides human-resource development skills training through its two community centres, an early-childhood education centre in Riverton Meadows and St Monica's Home for abandoned elderly and adults with HIV/AIDS in White Marl, St Catherine.
According to Sandrina Davis, general manager at the St Patrick's Foundation, their mission is to impart relevant skills, opportunities and care to residents of selected low-income communities, making possible their social and economic advancement.
"The foundation seeks to alleviate human suffering and offer support to people in vulnerable communities. We aim to empower and motivate them to become self-reliant and responsible citizens," Davis said.
At their head office located in Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, residents of the community can enrol at the Christ the Redeemer Human Resource Centre in several courses, including commercial food preparation, customer engagement operation and cosmetology that are certified by the HEART Trust/NTA.
"The goal of the varied programmes is to prepare and equip young people with the necessary education and skills [so that] they can contribute meaningfully to their family's livelihood and, by extension, to Jamaica," Davis said.
Meanwhile, in Waterhouse, at the St Margaret's Human Resource Centre, there is a remedial education programme, as well as skills training in woodwork and electrical maintenance. According to Davis, students aged 12 to 14 years who have issues in the regular school system can take advantage of the programmes.
"Once the standard of their work has improved, they can sit the Grade Nine Achievement Test, and if they are successful, they can go back into the regular school system," Davis said.
This centre also operates an outreach feeding programme, as well as a clinic that caters to the school population, the elderly, and the wider community. It also operates a community library, fully sponsored by Jamaica Self Help Canada.
According to Davis, the needs are many, and despite the support from local and overseas donors, they are finding it difficult to maintain their programme offerings and outreach in these communities.