Atlanta Evening of Elegance fundraiser for Jamaican youth
United States-based Integrity Children’s Fund (ICF) is set to host its 16th annual Evening of Elegance in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, June 1, to raise funds to support Jamaican young people’s right to literacy.
The featured guest speaker this year will be Mrs Arlene Bernard, principal of the Maranatha Basic School in Waterhouse, St Andrew, the newest ICF-supported school. She will share her remarkable life story of moving from being homeless to becoming principal of the basic school.
Oliver Mair, Jamaica’s consul general in Miami, and Mrs Mair, will be guests of honour at the ICF event, with veteran Jamaican entertainer Pluto Shervington and DJ Migraine headlining the entertainment package. The Evening of Elegance will be held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta. It starts at 7 p.m.
Founded in 2002 with a mission to support the educational needs of youth living in under-resourced communities in Jamaica, ICF has provided funding for seven schools in Kingston, St Andrew, St James, and Trelawny.
ICF President and co-founder Karl Chambers, a Jamaican living in Atlanta, believes illiteracy limits the ability of at-risk teenagers to use logical reasoning skills and is the primary reason behind some of them turning to a life of crime.
In a recent interview, Robert Dixon, director of Operation Restoration Christian School (another ICF-supported educational institution), offered some insight into the challenges faced by at-risk youth. He believes that in Trench Town and surrounding neighbourhoods, nearly 50 per cent of children are adversely affected by learning challenges directly resulting from exposure to extreme poverty and violence. One of the goals of Operation Restoration Christian School is to use education and empowerment to restore student pride and dignity.
The extraordinary story of former student Jermaine Turnbull provides a perfect example of the Operation Restoration Christian School’s success. When Jermaine first attended Operation Restoration Christian School, at the age of 13, he could not read three-letter words. But with the help of the teachers at the school, he soon developed fluent reading skills. After his family relocated to Canada, Jermaine continued to pursue his education and successfully obtained a college degree in psychology.
This is the kind of outcome that inspires ICF and its leaders to keep doing what they do – helping to give the less privileged a shot at a better life and therefore, an opportunity to help make a better Jamaica.