Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
THE NEWLY built B. Frank Early Childhood Institution located in Greenvale, Manchester, recently got a lift when the school's electricity system was finally installed and energised courtesy of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS).
The school was built by Food For The Poor as the organisation's contribution and gift to commemorate Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence.
Fifty early-childhood institutions are to be constructed and refurbished over a 50-month period at a cost of approximately $150 million.
The original school had been in operation for more than 12 years at a location at Bethel Street, Greenvale, under the leadership of its principal Gloria McKenzie. However, it did not have the proper facilities, prompting the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, along with Mikael Phillips, member of parliament for North West Manchester, to approach Food For The Poor for a new building.
"We saw where the school needed some help because the space and the general location wasn't ideal for a school," Wendy Freckleton, president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, explained.
The school was built in October last year at a new location in Greenvale, but had the electricity system left to be put in place.
"We had moved in from October, but we were kind of hampered with the absence of electricity, especially when we wanted to play a little music and let the children sing and dance, stuff like that," disclosed McKenzie.
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce once again came to the school's rescue and approached Ava Tomlin, parish manager for JPS, for her company's assistance in setting up electricity at the school.
Wiring and installation
Tomlin approached her boss, Kelly Tomblin, president and chief executive officer of JPS who did not hesitate in assisting the school. The JPS undertook the wiring of the school and installation. Tomblin journeyed to Greenvale, a community which is often affected by violence, to witness the electricity being turned on for the first time at the institution.
"As the saying goes, if we must have peace and prosperity, we must begin with the children; it is about teaching the children about energy how to use it and how to respect it," Tomblin told the gathering.
McKenzie said she was happy for the new building and the electricity. "We are so grateful for this moment," McKenzie said. "We now have more space, three classrooms, an office, kitchen and bathrooms for both boys and girls. We even have a playing area for the children to play, so we are extremely happy. We are so thankful for Food For The Poor and for JPS."
The school caters for 30 students and has three teachers. McKenzie said the community welcomes the school with open arms. "The people are so happy for the new school. Some of them are eager to let their children attend, even though they don't reach the age. I have to tell them to wait and until they (children) have reached the right age to register."
Keith Garvey, director of JPS south region, said through this project, great things are in store for the children of the community. "This is for the children, they are the ones who we really are happy for because the children are the future. They are the future prime ministers, future doctors, lawyers: this is where it all begins."
CAPTION: From left: Ivan Green, acting custos of Manchester; Kelly Tomblin, president and CEO of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS); Keith Garvey, director of JPS south region; Mikael Phillips (partly hidden), member of parliament for North West Manchester; Ava Tomlin, JPS Manchester parish manager; Wendy Freckleton, president Manchester Chamber of Commerce, share in the moment of B. Frank Early Childhood receiving electricity from JPS. - Photo by Dave Lindon