AN ALLIANCE of developmental organisations will open three new Source Learning Business Centres in the parishes of St Catherine and St Thomas, to provide new opportunities for community members.
The centres are an initiative of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), with funding provided by the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation (JN Foundation). Dr Elizabeth Ward, chairman of the VPA, said they are being implemented under its Learning Networks Programme.
"This programme provides opportunities to improve reading, mathematics, learn life skills, job skills and now, with the help of JN Foundation, business opportunities, through the exposure to small business skills," she said at the signing of the agreement. The grant-funding agreement was signed last week at Children's First, Spanish Town, St Catherine, where one of the centres is being located.
The other centres will be at Fairview Open Bible Church, outside of Spanish Town, and at St Mark's Anglican Church in Morant Bay, St Thomas.
Opportunities for the young
Saffrey Brown, general manager of JN Foundation, pointed out that her organisation aims to provide opportunities for young people.
"We want to make sure that you have opportunities to be successful in developing the life that you choose," she told students at Children's First who attended the signing ceremony.
Claudette Pious, founder of Children's First, said the signing of the agreement marked a milestone in the history of her organisation. "It is very difficult at this time to get companies to become partners, and I think that it is very commendable that JN Foundation chose to partner with us," she said.
Members of the surrounding communities in Spanish Town will be able to use the facility to conduct research, send out job application letters; and to get information about programmes, she explained. She added that the centre will also have a cyber café, and provide training in ornamental fish farming.
Dr Ward said the VPA chose to partner with Children's First and the two churches, because they already have community support programmes in place. "We looked for organisations which were already functioning to see where we could enhance their facilities," she explained.
The other two centres at Fairview and Morant Bay will pursue similar programmes to those at Children's First, Dr Ward said. The VPA currently has 12 other centres across the country, impacting more than 2,000 beneficiaries.
CAPTION: Mary Smith (seated at left), board director of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation, signs the funding agreement for the Source Learning Business Centres, while Dr Deanna Ashley, executive director of the Violence Prevention Alliance, peruses the document after signing it. Looking on (from left, standing) are Claudette Pious, founder of Children's First, Dr Elizabeth Ward, chairman of the Violence Prevention Alliance, and Saffrey Brown, general manager of the JNBS Foundation. The signing of the agreement took place at Children's First in Spanish Town, St Catherine, recently. - CONTRBUTED